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Statesman Journal

Carousel has new signs on building, ready for 22nd birthday party

By Capi Lynn, Salem Statesman Journal,


Salem's Riverfront Carousel has installed new signage around its building, and the official unveiling will be Saturday, June 3, during the carousel's annual birthday celebration.

Carousel officials invite everyone to celebrate the renaming of the building in honor of founder Hazel Patton, whose dream of building a carousel inspired the community to raise money and carve and paint the original herd of horses.

Volunteers began carving the horses in 1997, and the grand opening was on June 2, 2001.

Since then, the carousel has been Salem's "happy place," with thousands of parties and events and dozens of wedding proposals happening on-site.

A menagerie of animals has joined the horses, including a 350-pound elephant, a 6-foot-tall giraffe, and an Oregon Duck. Work on an Oregon State Beaver and other critters is taking place in the carving room.

The carousel is open 360 days a year and operated by a small staff and an army of volunteers. Fundraising plans are in the works for a 2,100-square-foot addition to the rear of the city-owned building called The Stables.

The new "Hazel Patton Riverfront Carousel" signs are on the front of the building and north and west sides. The name of the nonprofit that operates the carousel remains the same. Community members and fans of Patton raised money to cover the nearly $13,000 cost of permits and the new signs.

What's in a name:Salem carousel building gets a new — but familiar — name

The party to celebrate the building's new name and the carousel's 22nd birthday will be at noon June 3. The event is free, with complimentary slices of birthday cake available while supplies last and a birthday card-making craft for guests.

Rides will be $1 all day — that's half price — with the carousel open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Capi Lynn is a senior reporter for the Statesman Journal. Send comments, questions and tips to her at or 503-399-6710. Follow her work on Twitter @CapiLynn and Facebook @CapiLynnSJ.

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