MISSOULA – A Carousel for Missoula in Caras Park is closing down next week for routine maintenance.
The well-known site was the first hand-carved carousel crafted after the Great Depression and required the community to come together to make it happen.
Now some 24 years later, volunteers are gathering again to keep the historic site in good shape.
The executive director of a carousel from Missoula, Theresa Cox, says though it can be difficult to close the doors she remembers how much work those in the past had to do to create the carousel and feels it’s their responsibility to keep it looking its best.
“All these people came together to create the carousel, and it’s important for us. That’s a trust for us. We hold that on trust that We want to make sure that the carousel is always clean always welcoming always inviting and always ready for people to come down and ride,” said Cox.
The site will be closing for 11 days. The ponies will be clean and their paint will be touched up. A mechanic will get to take a look inside the ride as well to make sure it’s running correctly.
Workers say the shutdown is a bittersweet time. Carousel employee, Lizz Dellinger, said she sees people often disappointed to be unable to ride.
“I remember one specific Instance there was this family that came in had a younger girl with them, and they were from out of town really wanted to ride, and so that was kind of a bummer but, it was also like they have that appreciation for ‘oh’ you’re keeping up with everything making sure everything is working correctly making sure it’s gonna be a good experience for people who come in the future,” said Dillinger.
The official closing dates are Monday, January 7, through Friday, January 18, Dragon Hollow, the park next door, will remain open, weather permitting. That same park will be getting upgrades in May that will make it handicap accessible.