KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Wouldn't it be wonderful to be one of the first to ride on the soon to be competed old-time Kingsport Carousel?
You're invited to become one of the first riders with a donation to a new campaign.
It's been a decade from dream to reality, but the end is in sight for the completion of the project.
There are some very specific uses for the money being raised. You'll find hand-carved carousel animals in various stages of completion with a visit to the carousel workshop.
Some of the carvers are working on their second and third creations as the completion date of early next summer nears.
As the date gets closer a final financial campaign is underway, "Campaign 2014." They are looking for 2014 individuals to make a donation of one hundred dollars.
The donors will get a very special privilege. "They will get six "first riders" passes. When we build our carousel building and install the carousel and we get ready to start up, we will have a two-week period for these first rider coupons to be redeemed," says Reggie Martion with the project.
They will use the money to build a gift shop onto their roundhouse building so visitors can purchase items to remember the historic merry-go-round. "We will also use some of that money from the 2014 campaign to refurbish our carousel machine. We've got some upgrades that we can do on it that will make it last forever and ever," Martin adds.
Just about every piece of the carousel will relate to the city of Kingsport and its history, including a Santa Train remembrance, a Lynnview Lynx to represent the old high school and animals unique to the area.
"This will be a unique carousel for Kingsport and it will truly represent the history of the city. This has been a low cost way to install a beautiful hand-carved carousel. It's because of the tremendous volunteer turnout that we've had," he said.
Martin tells us that over 35,000 volunteer hours have already been put into the project and they're not done yet.
They invite the public to come visit their workshop as the work continues to come and see this work of pride and love that will uniquely be Kingsport's own.