This weekend, Oakland Beach will be overrun with horses.
Carousel horses, that is.
The Oakland Beach Carousel Foundation will host their annual fundraising carnival at Oakland Beach Commons and Father O’Hara Softball Field beginning tonight and running through Sunday night.
This will be the third time the Foundation is hosting a carnival with the company Midway by Rockwell Amusements providing the classic carnival rides, games and food. The hope is to make the carnival, and the partnership, an established and annual event.
“You gotta love a carnival,” said Doreen Kosciusko, president of the Oakland Beach Carousel Foundation, a Rhode Island non-profit and 501c3 organization.
This weekend’s carnival begins tonight at 6, Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $2 each or 12 for $20. Ride Specials will be a $20-per-person wristband on Thursday, and all rides are only one ticket on Sunday.
Kosciusko said that carnival-goers could expect to see all of their favorite classic rides and games, along with 17 of the hand-carved carousel horses the Foundation has made for the future Oakland Beach carousel. She said all Foundation volunteers will be at the carnival throughout the weekend; updating the community on their progress and detailing what still needs to be done.
The Foundation plans to have 24 carousel horses for the final attraction, and have made 18. The first horse, known as Acorn, sits in City Hall, waiting to be placed on the carousel. Kosciusko joked that Acorn is never allowed at the carnival.
“He gets bummed out because he never gets to come,” she said with a laugh. “He is too heavy to move.”
Additionally, guests will be able to see the beginning work on the carousel’s mural, which will be placed on the interior of the ride. Kosciusko explained that Oakland Beach Elementary School art teacher Kathy Davis Hayes has been creating large replicas of old postcards of Oakland Beach to create the mural. Davis has finished outlining the pieces but has yet to begin the oil painting portion. A few of the outlined pieces will be on display during the weekend’s festivities.
Kosciusko said the mural and carnival display will help to provide tidbits of Oakland Beach’s history, and especially it’s history with amusement.
Through her work with the Foundation, Kosciusko has learned a great deal about the area she thought she knew so well.
“There used to be a hotel in Oakland Beach that looked like the National Hotel on Block Island,” said Kosciusko. The hotel, she says, was destroyed in a large fire at the turn of the 20th century.
All funds from the carnival, after covering cost of Midway by Rockwell’s services and other expenses, will go directly to the Foundation.
“After we pay expenses, everything goes back to the workshop,” said Kosciusko, speaking about the place where Foundation volunteers, including herself, work on the carousel horses.
In addition to attempting to cover the cost of supplies to create the final six horses, the Foundation is reaching the point where it is ready to begin work on building the carousel they will be housed in.
“We are moving in that direction now,” said Kosciusko.
She added that the city has permitted a carousel to be located near the softball field, and the Foundation is beginning the process of looking for grants to apply for to help with the cost.
Those interested in donating to the Foundation’s project or learning about sponsoring a carousel horse should stop by the Foundation’s table at the carnival for more information.