By Mike Sawicki
Hard to believe. Three years ago today Butte celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony and thence the start of construction of the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel! Lots of hard work followed thereafter yet fun was had when on some work days folks brought donuts from TownTalk or yummies from Pita Pit, sandwiches from Paul Bunyan’s, lots of coffee and other foods to inspire and fuel the work crews, especially during the cold winter months when calories were needed to keep the engines going!
July 18, 2018; now almost 3 years later; saw another celebration party; a work party that is; when the Butte Exchange Club and Dan and Ted teamed up to move the original Columbia Gardens Wurlitzer band organ from the mall over to Stodden Park. Everyone seemed to have an inspirational festive cup of coffee in hand that morning.
July 21, 2018 was a very moving and emotional blessing celebration. The family that sponsored our horse named “Red Thunder” honored us all with a sweet smoke in remembrance of Nicolas. Pretty sure Nicolas was all smiles up in heaven seeing Auntie CiaCia and his family getting their pictures taken on such a beautiful steed.
July 22, 2018 hallmarked another festivity when Mark Lisac and his crew enjoyed the first public rides. Mark purchased this privilege during the live auction at the January 27 Carousel Gala (what a great party that was as well). We all saw lots of smiles and even some tears of joy on this July Sunday day for sure! Later that same day a party was held for volunteers, sponsors, donors, and several of the few surviving carvers. Pizza, cotton candy, soda pop, popcorn and Wilcoxson’s ice cream were served by brand new Carousel staff in the Coaster Cafe. The Biplane Gift shop sold lots of fun candy sweets as well.
Some of you might be thinking that we may not be making the best dietary choices among the major food groups (hahaha) when we are working or playing. Yet I’m sure you get the idea.
And the fun just kept getting better when we tested the waters and examined our operations starting our soft opening on July 27, 2018. Dan and Barbara miraculously appeared to donate and install bathroom and east wing mirrors, Pierce carpet brought some very cool donated entry carpets, Sysco dropped off the orders of Coaster Cafe condiments, Montana Broom and Brush stocked the state of the art custodial cleaning dispenser. All these events occurred at the last minute it seemed and many were quite unexpected. So I guess in some ways we all had kind of a ‘surprise party’.
Many may not know that July 25 each year is a holiday called “National Carousel Day”. Carousels all over the United States held special events that you might enjoy watching on the National Carousel Association Facebook page. Here in Butte we started partying earlier, July 22 to be exact- (cause that’s how we roll in SilverBow county ya know) and we really celebrated all of this week ourselves!
Hey let’s keep the party going!! the ‘after party party’ can be supported by volunteering and/or donating on the buttecarousel.com website and Spirit of Columbia Gardens Facebook page. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit outfit run by cowboys and cowgirls devoted to getting this merry go round spinning. Smiles of thanks and gratitude are common during festive events of course. The carousel staff, board of directors, and old and young kids all sure appreciate your attendance and smiles as we celebrate this hard won accomplishment!!