“Every small town tells a story of simpler times; when communities were close, and happiness happened together. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back? To Friday nights spent under stadium lights, or warm Fourth of Julys spent gazing at the sparkling sky. Traditions may fade, but they should never be forgotten. The beauty of small town community deserves to be revived,” so says the pitch given by University of Oregon students. And their solution? Reignite the light of the carousel.
The group, headed by Tylynn Burns, is working with Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel to raise $1 million. “We were amazed,” said Cindy Weeldreyer, a member of the carousel friends. “The campaign they came up with to appea to millenials blew us away."
The budget the group presented to the friends of the carousel came in at just over $5,000.
"We said from the beginning, this was a million dollar project," Weeldreyer said.
The presentation given to the carousel group focused on funding that would generate further funding. Before the group can proceed with plans for the city, it must obtain licensed engineering drawings and settle on property for the carousel's location. To do that, it needs money.
That's where the Allen Hall students come in. Dubbing their campaign, "Reignite the Light," the students have formulated an outreach effort that would appeal to several age groups but, more specifically, young adults.
The $5,331 price tag accounts for several fundraising ideas, as well as awareness and name recongition tricks, including bus stop signs and installations along the highway.
Students called for the carousel group's presence at local fairs and gatherings, utiliing booths that fall in line with the campaign's theme of reigniting the light. Country clubs and car shows topped the list of events.
Carousel-themed playing cards and paint and wine nights were also suggested along with a professional website and e-packets to send out to interested parties.
If the friends of the carousel were to institute all of the promotional ideas, it would come with the $5,331 price tag. However, the student group also noted that prices, depending on the campaign, could range between $3,531 and $5,331.
Once money started coming in from the fundraising efforts, it would go towards obtaining licensed engineer drawings and a location for the antique carousel, originally purchased by Cottage Grove resident Judy Cash.
Efforts to bring the Carousel to Main St. in Cottage Grove have spanned decades. When Cash first moved to town, she pictured an antique carousel as a tourist attraction and when the opportunity and funding came to fruition, she traveled out-of-state to bring the carousel back to Cottage Grove.
But the attraction has been stored in pieces for more than 20 years and needs to be restored. Currently, Cottage Grove High School students are working to sand and repaint a portion of the animals and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the school year.
The Allen Hall students, however, are also due back in town to shoot photos for a USA Today backed contest to help move the carousel project towards completion.