Visiting the Washington State Fair in Puyallup this year has made me appreciate what we have here in the Tri-Cities even more.
As far back as I can remember I’ve enjoyed the antique 1917 carousel that has spun at the fair every year since the 1920s. In 1983 it was donated to the fair by its then owner, the late Bob Bollinger of Funtastic Shows. He could have sold off the horses for thousands apiece, but elected instead to preserve the ride for future generations.
For many years the fair has been a good steward of the carousel — restoring it in 1983, building a climate-controlled building to protect it, giving it a new motor and flooring. But now, it is falling apart. The horses and chariots have severe seam and joint separation, badly chipped paint, putty to “repair” worn-out parts, broken ears, missing eyes ... I even pulled up a chunk of loose wood from a horse’s neck!
This is due to neglect. The fair has failed to keep its end of the bargain — to preserve this very rare and irreplaceable antique carousel. It is a stark contrast to our own Carousel of Dreams. The Washington State Fair should be ashamed!