Faron Wahl, Manager.
Now it’s real.
Exactly one year, nine months, and 22 days after our beloved Herschell-Spillman carousel headed to Ohio for the restoration of a lifetime, it returned to its home at Prairie Village.
The day it left, I took a photo of the Carousel Works caravan exiting the village, our carousel structure looking on as its tenant said goodbye. As the crew drove in our gate a few days ago on the return trip, I captured the moment again through the same framing. When one considers the incredible life and age of this surviving carousel and the mammoth nature of the restoration project, viewing these before/after shots together is rather moving.
Five of the fifteen skilled staff employed by Carousel Works escorted it back to South Dakota (including the company’s co-owner) and then worked steadily for several days reassembling it. Their craftsmanship is simply amazing. Having watched carefully the process of disassembly back in 2016, it is doubly amazing to witness this team’s labors putting back into operating position the oldest carousel they’ve ever restored.
What’s also remarkable is this crew’s travel grit. Due to the last-minute delay in late June, the firm promised us the very next available slot on their calendar. In practice, that meant two members of this team have seen precious little of home recently. They left in early July for Abu Dhabi to install a new carousel there, got back to the U.S. two weeks (plus a punch of jet lag) later, spent 24 hours at home, and then hit the road early last Tuesday on the two-day trek to South Dakota.
They’ve now wrapped up their work on site, leaving behind our beautifully restored carousel which will pretty much remain under wraps for several days as we prepare for the big celebration (see below). The last-minute preparations and hookups necessary for that big day couldn’t be performed until now, and we’ll be racing to have it all ready for you.
On a separate topic, the 25th rendition of our car show is coming Sunday, August 5 from 11:00 – 4:00. It’s always fun to see our historic Main Street lined with classic vehicles from all eras, making up eleven different classes in which folks compete for first through third placings and a peoples’ choice award. We won’t be offering carousel rides yet that day, as final hookup work will still be in progress, but we’ll have an afternoon train ride as well as food available at our kitchen.
If you’d like to register a vehicle, you can get the info at prairievillage.org under the “events” tab, or by stopping by our gift shop. You can also register the day of the show (be aware registrations will end prior to the 11:00 start). All entries receive a dash plaque and two free admission passes for the day.
I’ll speak more to my final carousel point here next week, but if you haven’t inked August 11 on your calendar yet, now’s the time to block off the square. We’ll host the carousel’s welcome home celebration at 2:00 pm that day, right out on the grass facing our honored returnee. Free admission will lead the way to a fun program honoring the carousel and the road that led to its magnificent restoration.
Please join us for this grand celebration. We’re certain you’ll be glad you came!