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Flying Horses: The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round

Riding all of the carousels in Massachusetts, nineteen down, three to go.

We were looking forward to this carousel all summer because we knew it was going to be one of the nice big historic wooden ones. We saved it for the late fall because, when I visited their website, I saw that you could rent it for birthday parties - and I knew of a very special birthday that we would be celebrating this fall.

Brynn doesn't know a life without carousels. By her first birthday she had ridden nineteen in Massachusetts and three in Rhode Island. She is like a little pro, knowing exactly how to hold onto the pole and what to expect once the music starts up. She smiles and waves and bounces up and down with excitement - it is the best. Once I saw that we could rent a carousel for her birthday, I started planning.

It wasn't expensive, $12 a child for unlimited rides for an hour-and-a-half. They also set up tables and provide a cake... Although I declined their cake and brought my own (and they took $10 off out bill!). I found a cake kit from Wilton's that helps you to make a carousel cake and I used that instead.

On a rare date night, when the kids were sleeping at their grandparents, my husband and I stayed up late painting the horses in the kit to match photos of horses we found of the carousel. I knew Brynn wouldn't care, but I also knew Will and Rory, and hopefully other guests, would get a kick out it. 

I was right. Will and Rory spent the whole party finding each of the horses on the cake and taking turns riding them. We also rode the chariot as a family for the first time, and spent many rides with family members. We had a blast sharing everything we had learned all summer about the history of the horses, the carvers, special and unique terms, and we pointed out the Lead Horse (and armoured horse named Lancelot).

After we sang "Happy Birthday," all of our guests--eight kids, 20-plus adults--boarded the carousel for one final ride. It was a perfect first birthday for our little girl.

Nineteen carousels down, three to go.

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