If you ever wanted to ride a pig dressed to the nines, Saturday was the day.
The Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel celebrated the assembly of the long-storied carousel at the WOE fairgrounds as part of its fundraising efforts to eventually bring the attraction to Main Street.
“The unveiling of the assembled carousel, which is 85 percent complete, accumulated over 3,000 volunteer labor hours,” the group said in a press release, going on to say that the remaining work consists of electrical lighting, graphics and design work on the rounding boards.
The project has been touch and go for more than 20 years after former resident Judy Cash went all-in on a childhood dream. After inheriting funds from a family friend, Cash made a trip across the country to purchase the antique attraction with dreams of seeing it on Main Street. Cash passed away earlier this year, leaving the carousel to the Friends group.
The Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel are still committed to Cash’s dream with several fundraisers held throughout the year and a new acquisition just months ago; an antique music box to accompany the carousel.
On Saturday, kids had the opportunity to hop on a horse, pig, zebra or rabbit and have volunteers walk the carousel around in its traditional circle.
“The electrical drive mechanism transmission, breaking, start/stop, is being assembled by Olson Electric in Eugene,” the group said. “As many witnessed, the carousel was revolved by hand, with two to three people pushing it, showing a great deal of balance, engineering achievement, making up many moving parts which must not bind to cause friction.”
The animals, original to the carousel, have been restored by the advanced art class at Cottage Grove High School, something the group says adds to the community spirit behind the project as did the estimated $22,000 contribution from local business Kimwood in the work to manufacture the latest grease bearing design for the carousel.
The biggest obstacle in moving the carousel to Main Street is finding a location. For now, it has taken up residence at the WOE fair where the group as continued to draw potential volunteers and investors to view the project.
“The work will continue on the finishing touches through-out the remaining summer and fall to enhance its beauty and to make it a showpiece for the South Lane County,” the release read. “We hope to have a temporary home at Brad’s Chevrolet on the south end of his parking lot for the carousel in spring 2019.”
The carousel will be available for viewing throughout the Western Oregon Exposition Heritage Fair August 17-19. The group continues to look for new volunteers. For more information, or to volunteer, visit the group’s website at cgcarousel.com