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A Year In Review: 2016 at the New England Carousel Museum

Rose Parker Horse in the Main Gallery

Rose Parker Horse in the Main Gallery

The New England Carousel Museum has had another great year with over 60 events produced in 2016 for the Greater Bristol Community. From children to adults we have had something for everyone.

We kicked off the year with Steampunk and the Chaparrals in January and Mardi Gras and Super Bowl Bingo in February, this launched the year and got us off to a great start.  We opened a new exhibition in our temporary gallery in February entitled “Art of the Wedding”, which was a vintage bridal gown exhibit interspersed with the Carousel horses on display. We hosted a Bridal Fashion Show to correspond with the exhibit opening. We concentrated in April on School break programming and kicked off our Harley Davidson Street Glide raffle in May.

Our annual CT Woodcarvers Show and Sale and the CT Open House Day entitled Museum Magic kept us busy during June.  During July and August we began our annual Country Fair circuit bringing the Harley Street Glide motorcycle out into the community to begin selling tickets.

We held our second exhibit of the year with BARC, the Bristol Adult Resource Center, creating a very well received show in our temporary gallery

featuring work by BARC artists. September was a huge month with Crocodile Club starting the month followed by Envisionfest at the Carousel in Hartford where we received 2016 History Award from the National Carousel Association for our restoration of the Bushnell Park Carousel.

We were delighted to once again be invited to show off the Museum in the CT Building at the Big E.  This was our 26th year for the Museum on display at the Big E. We kicked off our annual Carousel Art Contest for Students in October, held a Fire Prevention Event, held a 102nd Birthday Party for the Bushnell Park Carousel and held our most favorite Halloween Party for Children and a Zombie Ball for adults.

November was a huge month for us focusing on the ACE Awards, our Art, Culture and Entertainment award for Bristol. This year our recipients were Mary Lynn Gagnon and The Barnes Foundation, both worthy of this art and culture award. A special extravaganza was produced by Ken Ferris as a tribute to the New England Carousel Museum entitled Ken Ferris & Friends performed this year at the ACE Awards.

November continued with our Carnival for Kids which was a huge success with hundreds of children attending, our successful Harley Raffle Drawing is the culmination of over 6 months of work by staff, Board, and Volunteers all pulling together to produce this successful fundraiser.  Bizarre Bazaar, our annual craft fair, was a major success with 500 people attending.

We launched the holiday season in Bristol with our triple header that includes our ever popular Santa Sunday and his Elf on the last weekend in November along with our Art Contest Award Ceremony and our annual Winter Wonderland kick off celebration.

Our member’s holiday party was held at the beginning of December and we held a Progressive Dinner with our sister institutions Imagine Nation an Early Learning Center and the American Clock and Watch Museum that combined supporters from all three museums.  We plan to end 2016 with another very successful New Year’s Eve Party that featured the Chaparrals in Bristol and a very exciting First Night Celebration in Hartford where we play to a packed house and we give over 2,500 rides on the Bushnell Park Carousel bringing in the New Year.  What a way to end the year!

In addition to all of the programs and special events this year we also made many capital improvements to the building including a new roof in Bristol and a new addition in Hartford.    

None of this could have happened without the support of our Museum staff, volunteers, and our Board of Directors who all worked tirelessly to keep the Museum jumping with events.  And, most importantly, a very special thank you to the Greater Bristol community for embracing the Carousel Museum and supporting our events.

Here’s to an even better 2017.  

Louise L. DeMars and the staff of the New England Carousel Museum.

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