SPOKANE, Wash. — The iconic Looff Carrousel in downtown Spokane is getting a new home and a facelift, before its grand opening this upcoming spring 2018.
The Looff Carrousel made its Spokane debut in 1909. The attraction has brought smiles to riders’ faces for more than 100 years, but a century also makes for a lot of wear and tear.
For many of the volunteers working on the carousel restoration, this is a project that has special meaning. They have been working full-time to get the animals glistening again and when you spend that much time up close and personal with the carousel animals, they really find a way to talk to you.
“I have one called Joker, and he is a joker, Casper over there,” Bette Largent said. “I used to call him the ghost horse, and so we had to name him Casper. It was better than the ghost horse.”
Largent and her team of volunteers are still hard at work bringing the animals back to life.
As she puts it, they can finally see a pinhole light at the end of the tunnel.
Largent says, so far, they have completed the restoration of 30 carousel animals and have 28 more to go.
30 animals down, 28 to go—Looff Carrousel restoration keeps chugging along ahead of its grand re-opening this spring. pic.twitter.com/2TsOFCV5Ns— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) December 4, 2017
But the process of coming this far has not been the easiest.
“Artists have a hard time with deadlines. Especially in restoration work. Because surprises come along that we have to deal with,” Largent said.
One of those surprises Largent is referring to is damage. The old Looff Carrousel building left the animals vulnerable to the elements.
That all changes in the new building, which has Largent very excited. The new building is going to be completely climate controlled which will keep the animals in pristine condition.
Also in the new building is a lot more space for guests, concessions, a gift shop and large windows overlooking the river.
Largent said she will be one of the many people in line when the carousel opens in spring 2018. Before that day, however, Largent has one goal in mind.
“The one thing we're looking for, the goal that we have: No one has seen this machine and what it looked like in 1909 when it was brand new. And so our goal is to have that same experience,” Largent said.