The 2004 National Carousel
Association Technical Conference - Amazing as Ever!
In l990 The National Carousel Association (NCA) launched the first
Carousel Technical Conference. Conducted each spring in a different
region of the United States, these "three day weekend" workshops are
designed and presented by carousel support group members and or
operators. Their intend is to help other carousels in such technical
areas as mechanical repairs, insurance, preservation techniques,
marketing, and promotion of our remaining carousels.
This year's NCA Technical conference was held in the wonderful town of
Salem, Oregon. Base camp was the Red Lion Hotel, with commutes to the
Riverfront Carousel in downtown Salem.
The conference began with a tour of the awesome Clackamas Town Center
Mall exhibit put on by the Perron family. It is the world's largest
collection of carousel art -- featuring three antique ride-able
carousels, a children's Ferris wheel, a children's train that travels
through a carousel wonderland, a museum showcasing the history of the
carousel, complete with various antique carousel figures and chariots.
This particular Perron showcase is an extension of their International
Museum of Carousel Art in Hood River, Oregon.
Afterward, the group visited the Walker carving studio in Salem. Dave
Walker is the master carver for Salem’s Riverfront Carousel. He and his
wife Sandy developed the studio for both teaching and creating their
The first day of the conference ended with a stopover at the Riverfront
Carousel. Here participants were able to: “Shop ‘til you drop” in the
incredible carousel gift shop; ride the spectacular merry-go-round over
and over again; and participate in a sample event party.
The second day of the conference provided for some highly informative
technical sessions, with participants discussing the many aspects of
operating a carousel. Then there was a short break to clear ones head
of all technical information and prepare for a night of fun and
socializing. As the group arrived back at the carousel, there was a
chance for more shopping and rides, eating more food, and a very
enjoyable river cruise.
On the third day, conference goers met one last time for breakfast and
good-byes. Then everyone was on their own to visit other carousels in
the area. For instance, there is the Albany project (newly carved
pieces on a vintage Dentzel frame - in progress), a metal Parker
merry-go-round at Thrill-Ville USA, and the great Herschell-Spillman
menagerie carousel at Oaks Park. Also, just a little further up the
highway is the Parker carousel at Jantzen Beach shopping center in
Portland, and The International Museum of Carousel Art in Hood River,
In summary, this year’s conference was another fantastic opportunity to
immerse oneself in the amazing world of merry-go-rounds -- Incentive
to miss next year’s meeting.