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Salem business Journal

november 2006

Carousel Celebrates Five Years at the Salem’s riverfront

BY MiChAel PATriCk O’COnnOr

The Salem Riverfront Carousel is celebrating its fifth year of operation and the attraction has drawn more than one million patrons since opening on June 2, 2001.

Today, carousel operations are under the direction of Executive Director Marie Bradford, an engaging leader who takes the business of entertaining children or the kid at heart very seriously. Bradford has a history of pleasing young people. While working at Nordstrom for 23 years, she brought Beanie Babies into the retailer’s stores for the first time and did so long before they became much sought after collectibles for a time.

Now Bradford has inherited a vision. That vision belongs to Salem resident Hazel Patton who made a trip to Missoula, Montana in 1996 to see family and came away with the idea of putting a classically designed carousel in Salem’s developing Riverfront Park. To paraphrase from Rudyard Kipling’s If, Patton dreamed but did not make dreams her master and she thought and did not make thoughts her aim. Along with countless volunteers they all met with triumph and disaster and treated those two imposters just the same.

The result is 43 horses and hand-crafted


carved by teams

of talented

volunteers who produced a usable work of art that was born of blood—actually sanded out of some of the carvings—along with sweat and tears.

The Salem Riverfront Carousel receives no subsidies from the City of Salem as do

Marie Bradford, executive director, of Salem’s riverfront Carousel

some other area landmarks and attractions. Consequently, its board of directors is in the midst of an endowment campaign to keep the facility’s operations in mint condition while also adding a brass ring to the project.

The brass ring project has already received an economic shot in the arm through and

initial fundraising event in September that garnered $17,500.

A number of holiday events are slated for Salem’s Riverfront Carousel beginning with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at high noon on November 24th.

Santa will, of course, need to load up with

“carbs” for his annual trip to deliver presents around the world so he has chosen to breakfast at the Salem Riverfront Carousel on several days in December leading up to his all night ride with his reindeer.

If you want to start your day with Santa, you can breakfast with him on December 16th, 19th, 21st and 23rd at eight in the morning. Cost is $20.00 per person.

A tea with Mrs. Claus will take place twice on December 17th at noon and 2:30. Etiquette will be watched carefully as she can still make last minute reports to Santa about who is being naughty or nice.

The Salem Riverfront Carousel is proof that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create something meaningful and worthwhile. The attraction continues to draw young and old alike and provides endless amounts of fun and lasting memories with each revolution of the ride.

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel Holiday Calendar

November 24th Santa & Mrs. Claus arrives by train at noon

December 16, 19, 21, 23rd @ 8:00am Breakfast w/Santa $20.00 per person

December 17th @ noon & 2:30 Tea with Mrs.. Claus $17 per person


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