Historic Carousel is the Pride of Albion
The Albion Fair will attract thousands of people this week who will come for rides, animal judging, and various types of entertainment. It also features a community landmark that has been enjoyed for generations.
It's the Albion Carousel. The carousel was built in 1890 and you don't see many like it anywhere. It's made of wood. It's the 3rd oldest wooden carousel in the United States. The carousel has been located at Albion Borough Park since the 1940s. Borough Clerk Barb Hershelman is the carousel caretaker.
"The Lions Club purchased it in 1947-48 for $3,000 and brought it here and then used it for a summer park program for the kids to ride," she said.
The carousel has 22 animals and four chariots for kids of all ages to ride. No, the horses do not go up and down like a usual carnival merry go round. There's no calliope music. However, this is a rare antique. It's a sight to see at a distance but when you get up-close you can really admire the handiwork.
"We take good care if it,” says Hershelman. “The horses’ tails are real horse hair."
The carousel has been a big part of Albion's identity. Travelers entering town by motor vehicle see an image of a carousel horse on welcome signs. The same type of image has adorned the awning at the former borough offices for years and years. Carousel fans from across the country come to the borough offices asking for a tour. And yes, there are Albion Carousel T-shirts.
It's been two years since the last Albion Fair. It’s been two years since anyone has ridden the historic carousel. There was no debate about whether the carousel would re-open this year.
"We just got to have it open. There's just no question about it,” says Hershelman. "Just seeing everyone smile. The kids are really pleased with it. I like to see them smile."
The Albion Fair begins Tuesday. A ticket to ride the carousel costs only one dollar. An all-day pass costs three dollars.