Starting traditions at the Valley Merry-Go-Round

Published 3:19 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

haven’t been working in Chambers County long, but since day one I’ve heard about the annual Christmas Merry-Go-Round.

The carousel, which has become a tradition for many locals and their families, is nearing 3 million riders. It usually sees more than 76,000 people ride in a single year, although those numbers are understandably very dependent on Mother Nature. Rain and cold weather — like we’ve had over the last few weeks — probably hasn’t helped the numbers this year.

There aren’t many other communities where a carousel is free to ride and is available for weeks leading up to Christmas.

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Based on social media, there are many people in this community who have fond memories riding it for years and years and return each year to ride again. 

Of course, being new to Chambers County, I wanted to see the carousel for myself.

One evening last week, my wife and I took our 17-month-old daughter, Autumn, to see the carousel for the first time. Although Autumn wasn’t sure what to think — she started crying after the horse she was on started to move — it was a fun experience.

When we arrived, I expected to see a lot of little kids and a long line, but that’s not what we found. Sure, there were some younger children in line, but there were plenty of high school-aged children and adults as well, and just about all of them rode the carousel.

Autumn was more interested in watching everyone else and seeing the bright lights and music than she was actually climbing onto a horse.

However, I can already picture future years, when she’s older and understands what’s happening.

Like most kids, she’ll likely want to get on the carousel as many times as possible. It’s easy to see a trip to the carousel becoming a family tradition, one that my entire family looks forward to each year.