Painted horses, giant bunnies, blue roosters and more can all be found in Wading River now that the new carousel has opened at The Shoppes at East Wind.
Built in 1992 by Chance Rides, which has been building carousels since 1970, the 28-foot amusement ride first operated in West Palm Beach before being moved to a mall in New Jersey. It is now the centerpiece at the recently opened complex, located next to the East Wind inn and catering hall.
“The carousel was always part of the vision of the owner, Kenn Barra,” said East Wind’s marketing and communications Director Maria DiLeo. “He always wanted to have it as a focal point and destination for the local community.”
The stunning attraction boasts 3,000 lightbulbs and about 30 carousel animals to ride.
“We’re really happy to have it and excited about the future,” said Ed Reiter, head of maintenance at the Shoppes. “I love it. I think it’s going to be an icon for the shopping center, a great draw.”
Businesses inside the new shopping plaza, a new venture which features 28 stores varying in size from 500 to 2,000 square feet, began opening this month.
“The carousel is something that’s been anticipated by the local community, the tourist community and also our wedding clients,” DiLeo said. “We’ve been consistently getting questions as to when the carousel is opening, all the wedding clients want pictures with the carousel.”
Reiter was operating the ride on Friday afternoon as the first children got a chance to ride it.
John Jones, of Wading River, brought his two daughters, Kourtney, 5 and Genevieve, 3 for their first carousel ride.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s beautiful, a very nice addition.”
Tickets for the carousel are $3 a ride and can be purchased at Tweet’s Ice Cream parlor, near the complex’s parking lot. The carousel will be open on Columbus Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.