Kori Whittemore of Avon, Conn., grabs a brass ring while riding the Looff Carousel at Crescent Park in East Providence Friday evening. The brass ring entitles the bearer to another free ride on the carousel. Photo/Ernest A. Brown
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” One of Rhode Islandâ€™s most historic tourist spots is the Crescent Park Looff Carousel, overlooking the bay in East Providence.
Built in 1895, Charles Looff constructed a â€śnationally recognized masterpieceâ€ť containing hand-carved figures, elaborate chariots and original band organ music to create the â€śtotal carousel experience.â€ť
Rhode Islandâ€™s other Looff carousel is in Slater Park in Pawtucket.
Although the Crescent Park Carousel was always a popular place, it began to show signs of neglect as the years went by.
Saved in the 1970â€™s from being sold, East Providence residents updated the carousel to working condition but preserved the original horses, brass poles and pine floors.
The restored carousel now sits as a gem on the park property. It is in full swing, offering rides to young and old alike Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. What makes this carousel stand out among the other merry-go-rounds is its' magical gold ring catch. Daring riders can lean over their horse, pull a ring from a dispenser and aim it towards the painted clowns' mouth. There's a single gold ring, entitling the rider a free ride if they successfully toss it into the clown's mouth. Children still get the same experience Looff intended in the 1800s only on the restored carousel.
The carousel boasts an annual ridership of 100,000. Rides are usually $1, but every Thursday is â€śKiddy Day,â€ť and the tickets are discounted further to $75 cents per ride.
But taking a spin on the carousel is just one of the activities families can enjoy in the park.
Blount's Clam Shack is also located in the park, offering clam cakes, chowder, sandwiches and ice cream. There is also a variety of summer concerts in the pavilion on Thursday evenings starting at 6 p.m.
Music genres range from orchestra to "sha-bop." Another favorite is family movie night, Friday nights beginning at dusk. Movies are shown on a large projector screen with the capacity for a large viewing audience. Movie goers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and watch a flick. On Saturday, July 13 from noon to 4 p.m. there will be facepainting for children. For more information on the carousel and upcoming events, visit eastprovidenceri.net.