The National Carousel Association Board of Directors has announced the selection of the Bushnell Park Carousel, under the direction of the New England Carousel Museum of Bristol, as the recipient of the National Historic Award for 2016. The National Carousel Association Board of Directors unanimously recommended and approved the recognition of the Bushnell Park Carousel and the work that has been done to restore and enhance the carousel and the building under the Museum’s leadership working with the City of Hartford.
The National Carousel Historic Award will be presented to the New England Carousel Museum on Saturday, Sept 17 at 10 a.m. at the Bushnell Park Carousel by a representative of the National Carousel Association.
The carousel was created in 1914 by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldsten from the Artistic Carousel Company of Brooklyn New York. The carousel began its life outside of Albany, N.Y. and then moved to Canton, Ohio to the Meyers Lake Amusement Park in the early 1940s. The carousel was purchased for the City of Hartford in 1974 with a grant from the Knox Foundation. The Carousel has 48 horses, 36 jumpers, 12 stander horses, two chariots, and a Wurlitzer band organ. The New England Carousel Museum was selected as the management group for the carousel in 1998 and immediately began work raising funds and restoring the carousel. The restoration of the carousel is now nearly completed with only three horses left to be done. As a surprise to the Carousel in 2014 the City of Hartford announced that they were adding a major addition to the carousel that would include a new lobby, a Function Room, and restrooms as well as winterizing the existing pavilion to make the building a year round operation. Working together with the Carousel Museum the project was completed in September of 2015 and reopened to the public.
Sept. 17 is also the date for the Envisionfest a celebration for Hartford so a large crowd is expected. Envisionfest, sponsored by iQuilt Hartford, will give free rides all day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bushnell Park Carousel.
The Bushnell Park Carousel is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to rides, the carousel also provides many exciting offerings and programs. Children’s birthday parties are available during operating hours and include carousel rides, balloons, and popcorn, with the option to add on a craft project. The carousel may also be rented during non-operating hours for private events.
The carousel is located at One Jewel Street, across from the Arch in downtown Hartford.