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Dentzel Carousel in Ontario Beach Park reopens

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo discusses the reopening of the Dentzel Menagerie Carousel
Tianna Manon
County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo discusses the reopening of the Dentzel Menagerie Carousel

The Dentzel Menagerie Carousel in Charlotte is open again, after more than a year of being inoperative due to a mechanical problem.

MonroeCounty Executive Cheryl Dinolfo announced the carousel’s reopening Friday afternoon. She said that an important original mechanical component of the ride needed to be repaired, which because of the carousel’s age makes it a more difficult fix. However, now that the carousel is back open it’s up and open to the public for free rides on weekends through Columbus Day weekend.

“I hope that many of our hardworking families and residents of all ages will come up to Ontario Beach Park and enjoy a ride on our historic carousel, at no charge,” she said.

The carousel features 52 animals visitors can ride on and two chariots. All of the animals have been hand-carved, which Dinolfo says made for a lengthy restoration in the 80s.  

“Back in 1984, just before our 80th anniversary, Monroe County began a very extensive renovation project of all of the horses and I bet people remember that each and every horse and animal on the carousel was lovingly restored to its original condition and it was a real labor of love,” she said.

The carousel is one of the few historic ones left. Dinolfo says during their heyday there were roughly 8,000 carousels across America. Today there’s only 200 historic ones left and the Dentzel Carousel is considered the oldest because it’s been sitting at Ontario Beach Park since it first opened. Another old carousel is the Flying Horses Carousel whick opened in New York City in the 1880s but was eventually relocated to Massachussetts.

Dinolfo says she has her own happy memories with it: “I remember as a little girl, my mom used to actually let me ride my bike from just above Seneca Parkway, so I used to ride my bike down here with my friends, and my brothers and sister, we’d come down here and we’d spend a day and we’d ride on the carousel.

The carousel is open noon to 6 p.m. daily. After Labor Day, it will be open weekends through Columbus Day weekend.

Tianna Mañon is a contributing reporter for WXXI news. She’s covered issues like the presence of plastic in the Great Lakes, the death of Trevyan Rowe and the impact of the opioid epidemic in the inner-city.