Carousel Museum in Leavenworth celebrates big birthday Saturday - KCTV5

Carousel Museum in Leavenworth celebrates big birthday on Saturday

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Leavenworth at one time was considered the carousel capitol of the United States, with master builder C.W. Parker building nearly 1,000 wooden carousels there. Today less than 200 are still around and this weekend one has a special celebration.

Saturday, C.W. Parker's 118th carousel is celebrating its 100th birthday. Jerry Reinhardt, the director of the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, remembers when they purchased it for a mere $100,000.

"Basically it was a pile of junk," Reinhardt said.

With parts missing, wood rotted and almost no budget, fixing 118 turned into quite a project.

"A crew of volunteers worked for about eight years," Reinhardt said.

Now, the carousel looks like new.

"It runs smooth. It's fast," Reinhardt said.

Today's carousels spin at about half the speed they used to, but this one hasn't slowed down. The speed scared some kids, but Reinhardt said the fear doesn't last long.

"They ride it for about 30 seconds and, all at once, you can see the smiles change and they get that big grin," he said.

At the museum, they've had riders as young as 4 weeks and as old as 99 years.

"The older ones sometimes have more fun than the young ones because, when they get all through, their thoughts have gone back to their memories and occasionally you'll see a little tear," Reinhardt said. "Life changes, you know."

Saturday's event will be wishing a happy 100th to No. 118. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be free cake, ice cream, lemonade and carousel rides as well as tickets available for other activities.

The celebration will be held at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum at 320 South Esplanade St. in Leavenworth, KS. It will also celebrate the 149th birthday for C.W. Parker and the eighth anniversary of the museum.

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