NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Number 1 Special carrousel at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is ready to ride again as the museum prepares for a 100th Birthday celebration for that family favorite.
The Number 1 Special carrousel closed in March after a critical piece, called the main hub, cracked, essentially killing the ride until another custom part could be created for it. “It was really tough for us,” said Megan Mihan, the Education Director at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. “It’s definitely the main attraction of the museum and the reason that people come.”
It took about $40,000 to fix the Number 1 Special, which was raised in large part through donations from community members. Finally, it passed inspection by the state, and reopened for rides in early June.
“It’s really fun,” said Luke Ljiljanich, 10, after riding the Number 1 Special on Tuesday morning, “and it’s a really nice experience to go around here and see the historical sites and just see how it works and to ride them.”
“I thought that this was a fun experience because, to know that you’re riding on a 100 year old piece of history, it’s really interesting,” agreed Lily Ljiljanich, 11.
The Number 1 Special is one of several attractions at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum that shine the spotlight on North Tonawanda’s heritage of hand-crafting carousels and the band organs that make the music that are so much a part of the entire carrousel riding experience.
“When you’re worried about something, it just takes all your worries away and it just makes you smile,” said Madison Worthling, 11, after riding the Number 1 Special this week.
In a couple years, visitors to Canalside should be able to enjoy that experience too. Another Allen Herschell carrousel is currently being restored in Ohio so it can eventually be installed by Buffalo’s waterfront. “It’s considered a ‘park carrousel’ so it will be menagerie animals, so different animals on it, and it will also be solar powered,” Mihan explained.
The museum hopes to hold a Q & A session for the public about the Canalside carrousel some time this fall.
First, though, they’re inviting the whole community out to their site on Thompson Street this summer, for the 100th Birthday celebration for the Number 1 Special.
The weekend of June 16th and 17th, the museum will be offering $1 admission for the celebration, which will also feature midway games in the children’s gallery and 50 cent rides on the carrousel and Kiddie Land rides out side.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is currently open Wednesday-Sunday between noon and 4 p.m.
Admission for adults is regularly $6. It’s $3 for kids age 2 and up. Children under 2 get in free.