Story By Abby Driggers
Photo By Robert Noles
Christmas in Valley would not be complete without the 64th annual Christmas merry-go-round that offers residents and visitors alike a chance to experience the magic of the holiday season.
The Christmas merry-go-round officially opened to the public on Nov. 29.
From opening day until when local schools close for winter break, the merry-go-round will operate from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Once local schools are out, the merry-go-round will operate from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Christmas merry-go-round will close for the season on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, at 5 p.m.
The city of Valley Recreation Director, Laurie Blount, said the merry-go-round is a chance for many to enjoy the sights and scenes of the Christmas season.
“The merry-go-round has become such a staple in this community,” Blount said. “Today, people come from all over to share the tradition, whether it’s their first ride or the 50th.”
The carousel routinely attracts 10,000 riders, young and young-at-heart, each year. The merry-go-round celebrated its three millionth rider during the 2019 Christmas season, Blount said.
“Christmas will be here before we know it and with it comes [the] beloved Christmas merry-go-round,” Blount said.
For more than six decades, the Christmas merry-go-round has been bringing joy to riders. This year, Blount says she is looking forward to increasing the total number of riders.
Gifted by West Point Pepperell Mill Company in 1959, the original carousel kick started the tradition, bringing seasonal cheer to the community. West Point Pepperell became West Point Stevens and later West Point Home, Inc., and the city of Valley worked with the company to keep the carousel in the area, according to the city of Valley’s website.
West Point Home Inc. ended operations in Valley in the 2000’s, but the city, local businesses and citizens came together to continue the over 60-year-old operation. The city of Valley took on the responsibility of bringing the event to the Greater Valley area in 2005. City employees operate the merry-go-round and dutifully count the number of riders each year.
The merry-go-round is located on the old tennis courts in front of Langdale Mill at 600120th Ave. in Valley.
For more information, visit the city of Valley’s Christmas merry-go-round Facebook page or call the Valley Community Center at 334-756-5290.