Saturday, July 26 Celebration to Feature Free Rides, Birthday Cake & Activities
People of all ages are invited to a birthday party that’s been 100 years in the making - the historic Bushnell Park Carousel’s “100th Birthday Party”, featuring family entertainment, birthday cake, and free rides all day. The event will take place on Saturday, July 26 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Carousel’s pavilion in Downtown Hartford’s Bushnell Park. Activities will include face-painting, music, miniature train rides around Bushnell Park, inflatables, balloon twister, and costumed characters to entertain visitors.
At 11 a.m., the event will kick-off with a pull the reins as the crowd yells a loud “Giddy Up”. The first melody to play on the carousel’s antique band organ will be “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, Connecticut’s State song. Birthday cake will be served at 12 noon and at 5:30 p.m. at no charge, while supplies last.
“Our 100th birthday party will be a great celebration for everyone who loves the color, music, and excitement of our treasured Bushnell Park Carousel,” explains Louise DeMars, Executive Director of the New England Carousel Museum of Bristol, Conn., which manages the carousel for the City of Hartford. “This is a wonderful opportunity to see the 48 wooden horses and two chariots that we recently restored to bring the carousel to its grandeur of 100 years ago, and to hear the fine-tuned sounds of a band organ that was manufactured in 1925.”
At only $1 per ride, six days a week, the 100-year-old Bushnell Park Carousel is one of less than 200 antique wooden carousels that remain in operation in the U.S. – down from thousands at the turn-of-the-century.
“We encourage everyone to come to this special birthday party, or take a spin on the Bushnell Park Carousel anytime this summer to discover its unique history and art,” says Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra. “If people become interested in our carousel now and start caring and supporting it today, then we are very hopeful it can be here for people to enjoy another 100 years from now.”
The Bushnell Park Carousel was created in 1914 by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein, owners of the Artistic Carousel Company of Brooklyn, New York. It is one of only three Stein & Goldstein carousels left in operation in the U.S. that still provides rides for the public. The carousel features 36 jumper horses (going up and down), 12 standers (stationary horses), two chariots, and a newly refurbished Wurlitzer 153 band organ. It operated outside of Albany, New York until 1940 when it moved to Meyers Lake Amusement Park in Canton, Ohio, where it gave hundreds of thousands of rides to children of all ages. In 1974, Hartford’s Knox Foundation brought the carousel to Hartford as part of the revitalization of the downtown area.
The Bushnell Park Carousel is available for birthday parties held during public hours in the "Carouselabration Station" areas. It can be rented for receptions, weddings and special events, and for photo opportunities. Carousel lovers can join the Friends of the Bushnell Park Carousel, the New England Carousel Museum, or a combined membership, which includes free rides on the Bushnell Park Carousel and unlimited visits to both facilities. Becoming a member, taking a ride or buying a bag of popcorn all help to support the Carousel.
Regular hours of operation for the Bushnell Park Carousel are: Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is inside an enclosed pavilion, and closes only during severe weather. The Carousel also is open during selected special events in Bushnell Park. The Bushnell Park’s Carousel’s $1-per-ride fee goes to fund general operations and ongoing refurbishing of the horses and the pavilion itself. The City of Hartford also contributes to the general operation of the Carousel. For more information about the Bushnell Park Carousel or to donate to help the Carousel’s restoration process, including the Adopt-A-Horse campaign, call
860-585-5411 or visit www.thecarouselmuseum.org.