by Melinda Curtis
When I was a kid, carousels were magical experiences. The animals – mostly horses – were beautiful and there was something exciting about riding around in a circle and waving to the spectators. One of my favorite carousels used to be at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in California, where you could ride the horses on the outer circle, lean out to catch a brass ring as you passed, and then throw it at a target on the other side!
Last year, I had the chance to visit the newly opened Historic Carousel & Museum in Albany, Oregon. This charming place offers visitors a chance to ride the carousel and to witness (or help) new carousel animals be created. Volunteers include engineers, wood carvers, and painters. The animals are incredibly whimsical and immediately captured my imagination. Why? I happen to coordinate a holiday project with Harlequin Heartwarming authors every year set in fictional Christmas Town, Maine, and we are always in search of a theme to write about. My visit to the Historic Carousel & Museum helped create the premise for this year’s collection of romances. We brought a carousel in need of restoration to Christmas Town and added a wedding for the woman spearheading the restoration.
I’m posting some of my favorite carousel animals, as well as a picture of one in process – a tiger (see the picture up on the wall?).
If you know someone with a love of carousels, send them to the Historic Carousel & Museum (even if it’s only a visit to their web site). And if you enjoy carousels and holiday stories, check out the 12 Heartwarming Days of Christmas collection this year. I’d love to hear about your carousel experiences or perhaps which animals I’ve posted are your favorites. One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of Love, Special Delivery and a postcard from my visit to Albany!