National Carousel Day or Merry-Go-Round Day
About National Carousel Day
When is National Carousel Day? This holiday is always celebrated on July 25
National Carousel Day, also called Merry-Go-Round Day, is perfectly placed on a warm and sunny mid-summer day. This July 25 holiday occurs during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer that everyone loves. And, we certainly know that Americans young and old love the merry-go-round ride. As a matter of fact, it is America’s favorite amusement ride.
The terms “Carousel” and ” Merry-Go-Round” are synonyms. In the United States, they are most often called carousels. Europeans usually call them merry-go-rounds. Whatever you call them, millions of us will take a ride on one each summer. This is especially true for little tykes who are not yet ready for roller coasters and other thrill rides.
Carousels are enjoyed at amusement parks, midways, and many other venues around the world. There are plenty of indoor carousels at shopping malls, too. So, you can ride one even, in cold and snowy winter months. However, today the weather is spectacular. So today, go ride a carousel, with family, friends, or that special someone. And, it’s all but certain it’s going to be a warm evening. So, if you work during the day, take a ride tonight.
Carousels have been around since medieval times in Europe and the Middle East. Knights used the earliest carousels to practice jousting and swordsmanship They used it to hone their skills before competitions or battles. The knights sat on horse figurines as they went around in a circle and took aim with their swords at objects placed just outside of the slowly spinning carousel.
In the 17th century, carousels emerged as a source of entertainment for the general public. The first merry-go-rounds were manually spun. Hailing back to the first Medieval carousels, the ride originally had horse figurines. Nowadays, you often find other animals and characters featured on the ride, depending on upon its location. For example, theme parks include characters that fit the theme of the park. On most carousels, some of the characters go up and down as the ride is moving. And, some of them are stationary on the platform. Also, there are comfortable stationary benches for lovers and seniors.
1861, Thomas Bradshaw unveiled the first steam-powered merry-go-round at the Alysham Fair in Norfolk, England. Then on July 25, 1871, William Schneider received a U.S. Patent for the modern merry-go-round design. He is the Father of the modern carousel.
Now, the merry-go-round is almost always one of the rides at amusement parks, midways, and traveling fairs. You can also ride one at many indoor malls, at beaches, and at parks.
Did You Know? Often there were brass rings above the rides. If riders managed to grab and pull the ring, they were treated to an extra ride for free. There are only about twenty carousels left that have this brass ring.
The Oldest Carousel
The oldest carousel in the world is still in existence in at Wilhelmsbad Park in Hanau, Germany. Franz Ludwig Cancrin designed it. The carousel was built in 1780. The original carousel had two chariots with horses and two riding horses. In 1882 it was rebuilt and contained four chariots with two horses each and two pairs of riding horses. Time has taken its toll on the carousel, and it no longer moves. The last ride was in 1932.
The oldest operating carousel is in Vermolen Boden-Karussel at the Efteling Theme Park in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands. It was built in 1865. Originally, it was horse-drawn. Now it uses electrical power.
The oldest carousel in the United States is the Flying Horse in Oak Bluffs, Ma. It was built in 1876.
Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise
Originally, carousels used by Medieval knights ran counterclockwise. This allowed the knights to use their dominant right hand to practice hitting objects placed just outside of the outer edge of the carousel. As amusement parks and others built merry-go-rounds, some designed them to go clockwise, while others built them to operate counterclockwise.
There is no set rule on which way they should go. The majority of carousels in the United States go counterclockwise. In Europe, they largely go clockwise. It’s easy to tell which way the merry-go-round will turn. Simply look at the direction the horses or characters are facing.
How to Celebrate National Carousel Day
It’s fun and easy to celebrate National Carousel Day. Here are a few ideas:
- Take the kids to an amusement park to ride the Merry-Go-Round.
- No kids? No Problems. Go ride on a carousel. It’s fun for all ages.
- Ride a Merry-Go-Round that you’ve never been on before.
- Take pictures of carousels. Share the pictures on social media.
“Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?” – – Erma Bombeck
History and Origin of National Carousel Day
In 2014, National Carousel Day was created by carousel historian Ronald Hopkins and National Carousel Association’s President Bette Largent. The U.S. Patent issued a patent for the modern merry-go-round design on July 25, 1871. Hence, July 25 is the date to celebrate this holiday. It was issued to William Schneider from Davenport, Iowa. Schneider is the father of modern carousels.
We did not find any documentation confirming this to be a “National” day. We found no congressional records or presidential proclamation. If you’d like this to become a true “National” day, contact your congressperson.
More July 25 Holidays
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