Planet NilknarfDecember 2012Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013
Welcome to Planet Nilknarf!!
Cover Story: Carousel of the Month: Silver Beach, St. Joseph, Michigan!
Front Cover: “Christmas Horse: from the Silver Beach carousel. Above: Top row of squares from my fifth quilt, all creatures from the Silver Beach carousel.You can find the colouring pictures these were traced from at their official website:http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/downloads-and-media.htmlKeep visiting! They are always adding new stuff! You can bet that one of these days theChristmas Horse, tiger and unicorn will also be part of a future quilt.Meanwhile, I must say this is one of my absolute favorite places! I am a HUGE FAN of thiscarousel and can't begin to say enough nice things about this place! This was where the 2012NCA conference was hosted and the site of our technical seminar. I learned so much and wasvery impressed.Recently I came across an account I wrote of the 2008 conference I attended in Memphis andit mentioned where I was looking at this carousel's “baby album”. That is a binder full of plansand pictures of the carousel being built, animals in progress. At the time they were aiming for opening in the summer of 2009. And now I've been there and seen the completed project! It's an exciting feeling to not onlyvisit a carousel but know that I've watched it “grow up”.I immediately felt at home because I had an anachronistic sense of what I call “reverse deja-vu”! In other words, it was like wandering into a parallel universe stunningly similar to my ownpersonal vision of the Carousel of Friendship. Everything is so perfect and beautiful! Not justthe carouse itself but it's Shadowland Ballroom (named after the original ShadowlandBallroom at the old Silver Beach amusement Park.) gift shop and birthday party room.This place thinks of everything. Over the years several events including weddings and Promshave been hosted there. At one prom a couple of the young ladies were dismayed to discover that they got grease on the backs of their dresses from the poles underneath the horses. Themanagement of the carousel offered to reimburse these ladies for their dry-cleaning bills butthe ladies decided to just let it slide after all. Meanwhile the carousel's management came upwith brilliant idea; a Velcro sleeve that slides over the pole to prevent any more prom dressesfrom being damaged by grease.They also have the most ingenious wheel-chair ramp I've ever seen. It actually ROLLS Up for easy storage and can easily be anchored to the platform with two special keys. This preventswear and tear on the platform so that it doesn't have to keep stopping in the same place aswith traditional wheelchair ramps that have been permanent fixtures on other carousels. A
video of this concept can be seen here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh_pTs0Cb8IThe Silver Beach carousel has been built by the Carousel Works of Mansfield Ohio and itcombines good old-fashioned craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology. Everything iscomputerized on this carousel! The system actually keeps track of how many passengers per ride, what needs to be fixed and what songs for the organ to play. There are actually TWOorgans!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVbGYuyC8ro And both of them are linked to a MIDI system programmed to play over a thousand differentsongs. They usually alternate between both organs. The system is probably capable of themboth playing the same tune simultaneously but they likely refrain from doings so because itwould probably be excruciatingly loud.Which brings me to the next wonderful thing they think about. Being on the autism spectrummyself I can appreciate the fact that many of us tend to experience most things louder thanusual. The music here didn't bother me, but for others who have sensory issues with it beingloud, ear-plugs and headphones are provided. (I could have used them on the day of our closing meeting at Eden Springs Park but that's another story!
)The Silver Beach Carousel has its own museum with original artifacts from the former amusement park:You'll see a familiar face enjoying some of these exhibits. A local magician actually built the new Fortune Telling machine for a fraction of the price of what it would have cost to buy one like the one seen in the movie “Big”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye3gOJHxqxA And here's Laffing Sal.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XikdXRzVNzQWhen Silver Beach had its old amusement park, the original carousel was a Carmel whichsomehow managed to find its way down to Washington where it is now awaiting its new life as