Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Magic Carousel Mini Tour!

I have always loved carousels. For one thing, they are one of the few carnival rides I can actually ride. The Yoyo and the Ferris Wheel are the others. I tried the Hammer once and ended up getting off the ride and projectile vomiting in front of the line of people waiting to get on. Then I had to sit in the grass for half an hour. Not one of my finer moments.

Another reason I love carousels is the great old-fashioned look of them. I tend to be antiquarian in my tastes.

The final reason is Ray Bradbury's book "Something Wicked This Way Comes". A carousel figures highly in that story, although admittedly in a somewhat sinister way. I read that book as a kid and it has always stuck with me.

So when I heard there were a couple of carousels in the general area, I had to seek them out. A friend and I went to the Albany Carousel Museum first. This carousel is in various stages of being finished and it has the most enchanting figures:

People have paid thousands of dollars each to sponsor figures and volunteers carve and paint them. Because individuals are inspiring the various figures, there are some incredibly interesting variations:

For the full list of the amazing animals, see here.

A volunteer puts some finishing paint touches on a horse:

We found out that the way the figures get their final high shine is that they ultimately go to an auto body shop for a couple of coats of clear, hard exterior finish.

While the Albany Carousel Museum is really amazing, there are no rides to ride yet and we wanted to ride! So we traveled a few more miles to the Salem Riverfront Carousel and got to do a ride there.

I rode Snickerdoodle,

who appropriately had a cat on her back:

 a covered wagon ride!

An awesome squirrel on the back of Blackberry the Deer, one of the new figures they were finishing.

We finished off our experience with bags of pink cotton candy. I really have to say that I am extremely happy that carousels are still being made and appreciated. It's a bit of magic I would hate to see fade away. Luckily lots of other people seem to have a connection to carousels as well. I can tell you that if I had the means to sponsor a figure it would either be a mammoth (because I am obsessed with them!), or one of my cats, probably Tiger Baby. 

Do you like carousels? What figure would you have made if you could?


  1. Hello Tilda: How I love carousels, too! I keep thinking of that one scene in "The Sting", too. One of my favorite pictures of myself as a kid was when I was wearing my beloved cowboy hat and riding a carousel at Cedar Point amusement park.
    The work that goes into those hand-carved animals is awe inspiring. Thanks for the post - it makes me so happy!

  2. I love carousels too, because they're one of the few things I can ride without doing that projectile vomiting thing that you did. Not one of your finer moments, indeed! LOL I seem to remember doing that after riding the Matterhorn at the Stampede, and everyone considers that to be a 'baby ride'.

    I would have liked to paint Foxy or Morgan. Sir Hugo Page is cool but he doesn't look to be as much fun to paint. :)

  3. I looooove carousels, always have but I stopped riding them because I was always the only adult on them without a kid to supervise. Made me feel like kind of a creep.

    1. Ha, yeah we were definitely the only adults without kids riding the carousel. The adults that we did see with kids weren't riding, they were just standing on the carousel. We were the weirdos, as usual :)

  4. Me too, me too. I love carousels. Those volunteers are the best! I can't believe the beauty springing from their imaginations. The finished piece will be too amazing to think about touching, let alone riding. It may just fly away on its own.
    What a fun day - to ride a carousel and eat cotton candy.