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Local Mayors Help Keep Carousel Tradition Alive

JOHNSON CITY -- Binghamton is known as the Carousel Capital of the world.  But what to do as these landmarks age? Some local mayors have a plan to keep this tradition alive and well.

Carousels have been a staple in the community for decades.

"I still fit [on the horse].  It brings you back to your childhood a little bit," said Johnson City Mayor John Bertoni.

Endicott Mayor John Bertoni takes a ride every year.  But he says the aging attractions need work.

"It needs pampering, it needs attention, And it needs collective decision making,"

When the carousels were given to Broome County by George F. Johnson, he stipulated that no admission be charged, because as a boy he was too poor to ride. So it is the responsibility of the municipalities to take care of the six carousels throughout Broome County.  And Bertoni plans to do just  that with a new task force: two representatives from each municipality. 

"They're monitoring, sharing information, letting each other know where to buy parts," said Bertoni.

One carousel in Johnson City is 90 years old.  It was made in 1923. And the parts are so old that it's hard to replace them.  You can't just go online or go to Home Depot.

"They do need tender loving care because they've been around for a while," said Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie.

Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie says he is on board with Bertoni's call.

"Kids love them, I love them, George F.Johnson put them here for a reason, so we need to take care of them as best we can,"

The rides draw thousands of visitors each summer. And even though Mayor Bertoni remembers a different scene when he was younger -- "There used to be lines wrapped around the corner"-- he says it is our duty to keep the tradition going.

"Life changes, but the carousels live on," said Bertoni.

Deemie plans to appoint two members to the task force after he consults the village board. The carousels open for the season on Memorial Day Weekend.

Samantha McDonald, Fox 40 HD News.

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