Cottage Grove Sentinel | The carousel is organizing an open day

The long-awaited Cottage Grove Carousel took a new milestone on Friday (November 26) by opening its doors to the public for eight hours.

“We had an incredible turnout for the open house,” said Alice Nowicki, president of the Friends of the Cottage Grove carousel. “In fact, it was the longest time the carousel had ever run. So, it was really great to see that it works so well.

Nowicki estimated that between two and three hundred people came to the open house event, some even until closing time.

The event represented a bit of a public stress test for the system, although the carousel passed its inspection on April 16 of this year. This seal of approval verified the safety of the carousel as the final touches were completed.

The carousel has been in the Cottage Grove Industrial Park in the King Estate Warehouse since October 2018, when King Estate Winery CEO Ed King donated part of his space as a workshop.

After years of construction and electrical work, the carousel’s certification in April validated all the hard work that went into making sure the carousel was safe and ready for the public.

“So this is the first time that we got to actually see how it works and how it works,” Nowicki said. “And it went incredibly well.”

The open house is the start of the process of opening the carousel to the public on a limited basis.

Full time operations are not possible at this time due to space considerations and limited manpower. Instead, the Cottage Grove Friends Carousel plans to hold an open house once a month, allowing for free rides and gift shopping.

A price list is still being generated while the venue is prepared for party bookings.

The next step after King Estate will be to find a more permanent location for the carousel.

“We entered this position knowing that this is a temporary location – that we have to move on,” Nowicki said. “And we’re at this point where we’re looking at that and we just haven’t finalized our options yet.”

The 26 months spent in the warehouse served as a useful time and location to complete the restoration of the carousel.

“It was such a godsend and such a blessing that Ed King invited us to share this space with them,” Nowicki said. “And we have accomplished a lot of things that we could not have done.”

About forty objects, including all the animals and tanks in the carousel, have been fully restored, repainted and varnished.

One of the sources of funding for the carousel has been local membership; there are still animals available for adoption and as well as sponsorship opportunities for parts of the carousel, such as deck parts and mirrors. The money will go towards the maintenance of the carousel.

The next open house is tentatively scheduled for the end of December between Christmas and New Years.

Those interested in sponsorship are invited to the next open house to browse the options. It is also possible to make a special appointment for adoption opportunities by calling Project Engineer Russ McGuire at 541-419-6635.

More information can be found on the website at

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