Salem's Riverfront Carousel project was inspired by a trip Hazel Patton took in 1996 to visit family in Missoula, Montana. While there she went to see the first old-world style carousel built in the U.S. since the Great Depression. When Hazel rode the carousel, she knew it was more than the music and motion of the ornately carved and hand-painted horses that created magic in Missoula. The real beauty was how the carousel united the community by combining history with the creative talents of Missoula's citizens. She knew that the citizens of Salem could bring similar magic to the banks of the Willamette River.
The vision of Salem's Riverfront Carousel is to touch the hearts, spark the imaginations and ignite the creative spirits of a broad spectrum of volunteers by creating a work of art that will stand as a historical landmark and an enduring symbol of community pride and cooperation.
The mission of Salem's Riverfront Carousel is to enhance the quality of life in the Willamette Valley by invigorating community cohesiveness, fostering cultural and educational opportunities, creating a living history, and increasing tourism.
Who can resist the magic of the carousel? Some come to admire the exquisite artistry. Some search for information on how to create their own community projects. Most come because it is fun! There is something magical about climbing up high on a wooden horse, listening for the organ music to begin, anticipating the tummy tickles that are inevitable when the carousel starts to move and the horses take off on their circular flight.
The project has brought together artists and wood-carvers who designed the Carousel's unique character, experts who have outlined the financial needs and defined self-sustaining revenue potential, specialists who have organized ideas into marketing materials, writers who put the stories into words, and public speakers who have inspired groups ranging from school children to residents of Salemtowne Retirement Community to become involved.
Catch the Brass Ring!
Win a free ride if you catch the brass ring from the salmon's mouth as you pass by on the Carousel! Height restrictions apply (there is a measuring chart next to the carousel gate). Play is subject to staffing availability. Feel free to request a game!
• The 45th hand-carved figure that joins the Carousel herd although not a horse, is making a big splash down at Riverfront Park.
• The Brass Ring salmon was awarded the moniker Serendipity culled from over 150 entries in a fall 2008 naming contest.
• As with all the other hand-carved Carousel figures, each having their unique background and naming stories, the salmon can equally claim the same.
• The imaginative word itself, meaningthe gift, fact or occurrence of making fortunate discoveries, often by accident; a fluke; good luck in making or experiencing of unexpected circumstances, happenstances and discoveries gives emphasis to the beginnings of the Carousels dream come true, literally.
• It was serendipity that brought founder, Hazel Patton to visit the Missoula Montana carousel in 1995, inspiring a dream for Salem. This fortunate discovery inspired her to bring this wonderful idea home to our town and, fortunate as well, that she inspired others to dream along with her on what would become a 5 year endeavor involving an entire community.
• Serendipity & the making of a carousel, in the right place, at the right time, bringing about right minded people, for the right reasons. Serendipity, good fortune for all, to be a part of something that brings magic and meaning to all, standing as a historic landmark and symbol of community pride.
• Serendipity, since 2001s grand opening, to have such a run of good luck. 7-1/2 years of fortunate experiences, happy circumstances, and sometimes, unexpected happenstances that continue to enrich and inspire a community to live out an ideal and keep the dream alive.
• So, named and now operational, our most recent work of art and adaptation to our storySerendipity is welcomed in the true spirit of the word. Offering its own part to be played out in our living history.
• Serendipity looks to live up to and inspire others with its good fortunedelightfully so, when visitors win the Brass Ring game or when children discover the true quality and character of its nameand how much it plays a role in all of our lives and our dreams that can come true, serendipitously!
Who can resist the magic?