Carousel show heads around to mall

June 27, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A club with members across the United States has been ensuring that the magic of old-time carousels remains in perpetual motion.

Howard "Chic" Hutton, for instance, took the Pen Mar Park carousel he remembered from childhood and re-created it with 52 detailed ceramic animals. Eighteen-hundred tiny beads hang from the sweeps, which are beams stretching outward from the center of the carousel.

"I researched it for two years before I started it," Hutton said.

This weekend, his and other miniature carousels will be on display at Valley Mall in Halfway as Miniature Carousel Builders Inc. holds its annual exhibit. The public event has drawings for carousel gifts.

Hutton acknowledged that he will be soliciting help to carry the Pen Mar Park miniature, which disassembles into three parts.

"It lives in the van because it's too big for the house," Hutton said.

His other creations, scrapbooks, carousel books and carousel memorabilia do have residency in the house and its basement and attic. One of Hutton's miniature carousels is in the living room, where it illuminates and whirs to life with a switch.


Hutton began his first miniature carousel in the early 1990s, when he saw others and wanted to attempt one himself.

Hutton, who documented 1,038 hours of work on the Pen Mar miniature, started with the rotating platform and center pole in 1997. He used his own kilns and molds to craft the animals, which are part of a "menagerie" because the Pen Mar ride had more than just horses.

The Waynesboro man worked off three pictures, none of which were in color. He originally designed it with 12 rows, then discovered it had 18, meaning "I had to start all over."

Slightly able to recall riding the carousel himself for 5 cents, Hutton spent considerable time talking to other people who remembered the ride. He especially gleaned information from Earl Punt, who operated it from 1938 until it closed in 1942.

"They had to shut it down at night because people were going to protest" (its dismantling), Hutton said.

Another man, Creston Bumbaugh, helped design the ring mechanism, said Hutton's wife, Dottie. He started working at the park in his youth, picking up the rings and eventually running that machine, she said.

The club, which formed in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1986, frequently takes its carousels to Franklin County nursing homes, the Huttons said.

"We just set them up, and they bring people through," Hutton said.

"The generation in the nursing home, they are the generation that lived during the heyday of the amusement park and carousels," his wife said.

Other club trips have taken its members to Sandusky, Ohio; Dollywood theme park in Tennessee; and Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

Hutton is in the early stages of miniature carousel No. 5.

"Everything he sees that he can make a carousel out of, he does," Dottie Hutton said.

If you go...

What: Miniature Carousel Club Show

When: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Valley Mall

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