As a child, there are few things more dazzling than a flashy, brilliantly colored carousel. Yet even as we age, the combination of twinkling lights, carnival music accompaniment, and animals festooned with garish colors and friendly expressions still evokes a sense of nostalgic wonderment. Although there aren’t many permanently fixed carousels in the area anymore — most come and go with the county fairs — the local merry-go-round that is home to this critter is here to stay.
Enclosed within an 8,000-square-foot pavilion, the ride features 42 hand-carved seats shaped into the forms of animals native to the Valley. Included are a black bear, wild turkey, deer, raccoon, skunk, fox, rabbit, and bobcat, among others. Hand-painted landscapes of scenic Valley locations run along the top of the carousel; as the animals spin, speakers churn out music recorded from a 1926 Wurlitzer pipe band organ. In addition, the enclosure features a large fireplace hearth, scenic views of the surrounding area, and sufficient space for parties and other special events.
Located on the grounds of a popular state park, the merry-go-round almost never made it off the drawing board. Plans to construct a carousel were first brought forth in 1916, and again about 20 years later, by the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission. But each time, lack of sufficient funding put a stop to the proposal. Years later, a donation was made on behalf of the late George W. Perkins — the first PIPC president — by Ann Perkins Cabot, a fifth-generation Perkins family member to serve as PIPC Commissioner.
Think you might know where to find this whirling menagerie? Write your answer (name of the park, and its adjacent city) as a comment in the box below. The first reader who submits the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!