Before Spokane Mayor Dave Condon cut the ribbon Saturday to signal the reopening of the revamped Looff Carrousel, hundreds of post-Junior Lilac Parade patrons strolling through Riverfront Park were given a quick history lesson.
On a jumbo screen near the Carrousel, a short video clicked through highlights in the city’s history. “It’s your turn to take a ride back into Spokane history,” said Spokane Parks director Leroy Eadie, speaking from the screen.
The Carrousel is indeed one of Spokane’s older artifacts, having arrived in Spokane in 1909, retired halfway through the century only to be brought back after Expo ’74. Now, housed in a new $7 million glass rotunda, it is a highlight of the recent redevelopment in Riverfront Park.
Since the Carrousel’s closure last year, the ride has been repainted and refurbished, a feature that impressed carousel expert and consultant Bette Largent.
“This is one of the best openings I’ve seen,” Largent told the crowd. “Spokane has set a precedent for carousels.”
Hundreds rode the steeds Saturday, the sunny skies and nearby festivities boosting the opening. Rides cost $2.
The Looff Carrousel features 54 horses, two Chinese Dragon chairs, a giraffe, a tiger and a and a go-round version of ring-toss.
“This has been a special place with memories for thousands of people in the Spokane area, including myself,” Condon said. “And that will continue.”
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