July 25 is National Carousel Day – a day for celebration in America’s carousel-making capital.

According to Wikipedia, “The modern carousel emerged from early jousting traditions in Europe and the Middle East. Knights would gallop in a circle while tossing balls from one to another; an activity that required great skill and horsemanship….By the 17th century, the balls had been dispensed with, and instead the riders had to spear small rings that were hanging from poles overhead and rip them off… The game began to be played by commoners, and carousels soon sprung up at fairgrounds across Europe.

At the Place du Carrousel in Paris, an early make believe carousel was set up with wooden horses for the children. By the early 18th century carousels were being built and operated at various fairs and gatherings in central Europe and England.”

Franz Wiesenoffer created the first merry-go-round in the United States in the 1840s, right here in Ohio (Hessville, near Fremont).

A clickable map of carousels across the country, created by the National Carousel Association, can be accessed here.

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