Favorite Place: A visit to Holyoke Merry-Go-Round at Heritage State Park is 'something magical'08-Mar-2013
The Holyoke-Merry-Go-Round at Heritage State Park has 48 horses and two chariots for a capacity of 56 riders.
HOLYOKE –The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round at Heritage State Park "represents very precious memories for children and families," says Maureen S. Costello, administrative manager. "And, it offers an opportunity for children and families to create new memories."
Located at 221 Appleton St., the Holyoke-Merry-Go-Round is celebrating its 20th anniversary there. During that time, it has carried more than1 million riders and has hosted more than 5,000 children's birthday parties and hundreds of functions for families and businesses.
"We want to encourage visitors so we can continue to preserve our merry-go-round and be able to operate it so future generations can enjoy what those who have ridden it over 20 years have enjoyed,"Costello said.
The Philadelphia Toboggan Co. ride was assembled in the old modified pavilion at Mountain Park in Holyoke and opened for the 1929 season.
In 1953, John Collins purchased Mountain Park, and, after it closed in 1987, he sold the carousel to the Friends of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round for $875,000.
Donations came from near and far; Holyoke schoolchildren raised $32,000 from activities like bake sales. The lead armored horse, Lancelot, is dedicated to the schoolchildren.
The ride has 48 horses and two chariots for a capacity of 56 riders.
After the ride was purchased, it was relocated to Heritage State Park, in the center of the downtown. "We made a commitment to downtown Holyoke to support its revitalization," Costello said.
Timothy Murphy, a local architect, donated his services to design the recreation of the original carousel pavilion. On Dec. 7, 1993, Philadelphia Toboggan Co. merry-go-round 80 re-opened to the public in its new home.
"We're one of only 100 antique, classic wooden merry-go-rounds operating in North America," Costello said, noting riders have ranged in age from newborn to 104 years.
"It's not uncommon to have four generations of a family come to ride the merry-go-round together," she said. "Many people remember riding the merry-go-round at Mountain Park and now bring their children and grandchildren to the Holyoke Heritage State Park" to ride it.
"I feel when someone rides a merry-go-round, they can be transported to be able to experience something magical," Costello said.
The merry-go-round is also a venue for children's birthday parties and private parties. Call for prices and details. Costello said there have been wedding receptions and memorial gatherings there, too.