BICKLETON -- When some very pretty ponies are ready to ride in the high country above the Columbia River Gorge, it’s a reminder that life goes round and round.
These brightly painted steed that sit upon a historic carousel have been bringing generations of families together for decades.
This weekend, old timers can become kids again while sitting next to their grandchildren astride restored carousel horses at the Alder Creek Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo west of Bickleton, Wash. It often brings back memories of the merry-go-round rides they took with their own parents many years ago.
Ada Whitmore, owner of the Whoop and Holler Museum -- just up the road from all the activities -- once told me her parents were there to see the 1905 Hershell-Spillman Co. carousel arrive from Portland, Ore., in 1929.
At that time, a ride was only five cents. Today, it’s more -- maybe 50 cents like it was the last time I rode the carousel -- but still a great bargain for nostalgia.
To be able to ride down Memory Lane on one of only three of this company’s carousels still in operation is a unique experience. Instead of moving up and down, the restored horses have a rocking motion that can have young riders feeling as if they’re galloping across country on a real horse.
The Bickleton folks, and others from nearby, have worked for years as volunteers to paint and restore these mounts to their original beauty. It has also taken a lot of “giddy-up and go” from the community to bring the ponies each season from what used to be a secret storage area, to the park for the big event.
Nowadays, the town folk have a new museum where the antique carousel can be seen all year round.
Still, it’s only once a year when visitors -- young and old -- can feel the thrill of riding their favorite charger when the carousel moves to Cleveland Park. It’s a tradition that goes round and round.