DEL MAR — Today’s carnivals are a collection of spectacular rides designed to test the mettle of folks who know no fear.
Facing the main carnival entrance there is a merry-go-round. It’s not a big revenue producer and it’s not spectacular except maybe for the little folks. But it’s traditional. Almost every carnival has one.
At the San Diego County Fair, it’s a merry-go-round not a carousel, the difference being there is a variety of animals to ride.
A long, long time ago, actually centuries ago, nomad families roamed foreign lands selling merchandise. They would set up a camp and remained for three or four days to barter and exchange their wares. This became a fair in concept. Like today’s kids, the young ones would complain they had nothing to do. So a wooden wheel was developed and a horse was tied to the end of each spoke. They walked around a circle with a child riding on its back. This is the reason early carousels had only horses. As they became more popular, wood sculptors, mostly from Europe, went into business carving animals of all varieties. Some of the wooden horses can be found today in museums and exclusive homes and are considered to be quite valuable
Animals on merry-go-rounds are no longer fashioned out of wood. They are either plastic or made from some other product.
While some rides have a relative short lifespan, the merry-go-round will continue to be a carnival mainstay. Folks of all ages, particularly seniors, recall the thrill they experienced when they rode the merry-go-round for the first time.
Filed Under: EyeWitness