Flying Horses opens for the season

Ruby Elliott reaches for the brass ring. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Easter weekend on Martha’s Vineyard is synonymous with the opening of the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs. On Sunday, delighted children and adults took a spin on the oldest continuously operated carousel in the country.

Owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, The Flying Carousel is the nation’s oldest platform carousel and has been designated by the Department of the Interior as a national landmark.

Constructed in 1876 by Charles Dare, it is one of only two Dare carousels still in existence. Originally operated as a Coney Island, N.Y., amusement, it was moved to Oak Bluffs in 1884, where it has lived in its red barn ever since. The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust acquired the carousel in 1986 to prevent it from being dismantled and sold piecemeal to collectors of antique carved horses.

The carousel opened for the season on Saturday, April 7, and is open for school vacation week, April 13 to 21, from 11 am to 4:30 pm. It is open on Saturday and Sunday until Memorial Day when it opens daily for the summer season.