Sandpoint Reader: Carousel of Smiles hosts champagne reception

The Carousel of Smiles, undergoing a significant artistic transformation since its unveiling two years ago, invites the public to a free champagne reception on Thursday, Dec. 19, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Mountain West Bank. The event will feature 15 ponies on display, each showcasing a step in the restoration process, with volunteers available to explain and answer questions about the project. Co-founder Reno Hutchison expresses excitement about the progress and invites the community to witness the amazing work happening during the celebration.

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The Daily Bee: Volunteers breathe life back into carousel ponies

The community-driven restoration of the Carousel of Smiles, a 1920 Allan Herschell carousel in Sandpoint, Idaho, is progressing as volunteers work on restoring the 36 ponies. Led by Clay and Reno Hutchison, who saved the carousel from auction in 2000, the restoration involves stripping old paint, deconstructing the ponies, wood restoration, primer application, and detailed painting. Over 200 hours are invested in each pony, and the restoration emphasizes preserving the original wood and character. Community members, known as the “Painters of the Lost Arts,” contribute their artistic skills, guided by workshops led by carousel preservationist Bette Largent. The ongoing restoration showcases the collaborative effort to revive this historical treasure.

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The Daily Bee: Trio brings carousel’s center pole back to life

The center pole of the Carousel of Smiles, a 1920 Allan Herschell carousel being restored in Sandpoint, Idaho, underwent refurbishment by three local businesses. Weighing half a ton and serving as the backbone for the carousel, the 18-foot, 10-inch diameter pole received sandblasting and powder coating at Full Circle Powder Coating, structural repair at Selkirk Power Generation, and a fresh coat of red paint at Northwest Autobody. The community-driven restoration aims to revive the carousel’s Golden Age glory, with local businesses volunteering time and resources to support the project. The restored center pole symbolizes the collaborative efforts behind this historical endeavor.

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