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‘Fall Back in Time’ at Holyoke Merry-Go-Round on Sept. 18

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, the prized carousel with a storied history that dates back to the early 1900s, announced a “Fall Back in Time” fund-raiser to remember the magic of Mountain Park, to be held on Friday, Sept. 18 at the carousel site, 221 Appleton St., from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for the event, which will support the ongoing maintenance and operation of the ride.

The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round — also known as Holyoke’s Happiness Machine — has delighted children and families since the 1920s, when it was featured at Mountain Park, an amusement park on the side of Mount Tom. The carousel arrived in Holyoke for the 1929 season and remained in Mountain Park until its closure in 1987.

Although the merry-go-round received multiple offers for purchase, its fate ultimately rested with a dedicated group of volunteers — led by John Hickey, as well as Joe and Angela Wright — who raised close to $2 million in donations to purchase the ride for the city and build a structure to house it. Through their efforts, the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round settled at Holyoke Heritage State Park, where it still resides today.

“The merry-go-round plays a vital role in the history of Holyoke, and our residents should be proud of their efforts to preserve it,” said Angela Wright, executive director. “The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round is a nonprofit that is totally self-supporting and does not receive city, state, or federal funding to maintain its operation. We rely on our annual preservation fund, donations, and various fund-raising events to keep the carousel spinning.”

The fund-raiser will feature food and a cash bar prepared by the Log Cabin; live music including sax player Tom Tisdell, his musicians, and a banjo player; train rides to the mall and back provided by the Pioneer Valley Railroad; and carousel rides. Tickets are $45 per person or $400 for a table of 10.

A grand raffle will also be held, with $8,000 in prizes: $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. Raffle tickets are $100 each. Event and raffle tickets are available now at the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round concession or by calling Meghan O’Connor at (413) 427-7629 or Susan Leary at (413) 592-7573.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (413) 538-9838 or visit holyokemerrygoround.org.

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