Merry Go RoundThere’s no sound quite like the pipe organ music that announces their presence even before you lay eyes on them, and when you do get a look, you’re seeing Paradise on a spinning platform, with the painted ponies, carriages and other creatures all saddled up and waiting for you on


Merry-Go-Round is the more common name, and anyone who has seen the joyful face of a child riding one knows this is the better description. Dating from the Middle Ages and modeled after a game played by jousting knights, the carousel has become a fixture in every amusement park on earth, and often a valued feature of town squares and public parks.

Binghamton, New York is considered “The Carousel Capital of the World” for its 6 elaborate carousels, built and donated by carousel maker George F. Johnson with the stipulation that they never charge admission. The organ is called a “Fair Grounds Organ” and the carousel is often built around it, with its bells and swirling sounds serving as an aural Pied Piper gathering up the local children.

Carousels can be any size, from the portable truck rides with just a few ponies, to the huge, ornate mini-palaces with hand carved and gaily painted woodwork everywhere you turn, and lit up with a bazillion colored lights. Those dreadnoughts are whirling works of art, national treasures, the kind you can see and feel. And ride.

National Carousel Day comes to us in July, the day we celebrate not only our Merry-Go-Rounds, but the beautiful music of our children’s squealing laughter that completes our Summer. All aboard!

•Suggested Activities: Waving like a lunatic every time your kid spins past you. Every single time.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top