Holiday carnivals are making an appearance early this year.

While it may be too early for you to be thinking about Christmas, the folks at The Salvation Army are getting a jump start on gift giving.

They claim they have to start early to rack up enough presents to give out to needy families in the Lowcountry during the holidays.

"Last year we gave out 7,862 new toys to (Savannah-area) children," said Lynette Jones, business administrative assistant at The Salvation Army of Savannah. "We helped 1,785 households and we also provide them with food, not just toys."

The group will host the Holiday Hope Carnival from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at Grayson Stadium.

In order to get people in the giving spirit of the holidays, Jones said the carnival will be a Christmas-themed celebration with rides on the Christmas Train, holiday-themed games, a snow cone machine, bouncy houses, face painting and a possible appearance by the big man himself, Santa.

There will also be carnival games with prizes like a bean bag toss, duck pond, ring toss and many more.

"Admission to the carnival is free with a new unwrapped toy," Jones said. "That's one toy per person though, so each family member will need to bring a toy in order to get in free to the carnival."

After the carnival, guests can stay to give even more support to The Salvation Army at its Pack the Park event during the Sand Gnats' game, which begins at 7 p.m.

Pack the Park is series of events where the Sand Gnats feature a charity or nonprofit group and the group raises money through ticket sales exclusively through the charity.

"People have to buy the game tickets from us prior to the game in order for us to receive the proceeds," Jones said. "Free admission to the carnival does not include entrance to the game."

Tickets for the Aug. 7 Sand Gnats' game can be purchased by contacting Jones or Christi Wilcox.

IF YOU GO

What: Holiday Hope Carnival and Pack the Park Night for The Salvation Army

When: Aug. 7, carnival 4:30 to 6 p.m., game starts at 7 p.m.

Where: Grayson Stadium, 1401 E. Victory Drive

Cost: Free entry to carnival with new unwrapped toy

Info: Lynette Jones at 200-3026, Christi Wilcox 200-3037