National Merry-Go-Round Day

National Merry-Go-Round Day

July 25 is a perfect day to go out and enjoy the merry-go-round. A Sunday this year, it affords most families the chance to hit the park and, if there’s still one left (as my old favorite park no longer has one), show their children—as well as the parents themselves!—a good old-fashioned time on the merry-go-round. If there is a carousel or carnival near you, that’s a great opportunity as well.

I have a wonderful story about a merry-go-round. In fact, I wrote about it in junior high, much to the delight and disgust of my classmates. Reading it aloud was some of the most fun I’d ever had in school to that point!

My father, a kid at heart, loved to take me to the park, the ice cream shop, and basically any place a kid can be a kid (yes, including Showbiz Pizza, which is now hideously known as Chuck E. Cheese). One day, while we were at the park, he continually spun me—as well as all of the other kids who happened to be there; my dad was a carpenter and a very, very strong dude—so fast and so long that I immediately puked afterward.

My mother, of course, freaked out—I was only five or six, an only child at the time—but I remember smiling wobbily and asking him to spin me again. The story, of course, was so much fun to tell because when I wrote it, I vividly described the contents of my stomach, which my classmates both appreciated and found disgusting, simultaneously. To this day I still thank my father for my love of the occasional shock value, and of using puke as a literary device in general.

That said, you don’t have to spin your kids until they hurl chunks at you; in fact, I would not recommend it—especially if it’s as hot where you are as it is where I am! A little spinning, coupled with plenty of breaks and some water, would be plenty of fun. And if you opt for the carousel instead, all the better. What child doesn’t love the soothing up-and-down motion of the horses—or, on some more elaborate merry-go-rounds, lions, elephants, and other animals? (Of course, for us Neil Gaiman fans, that might be a little surreal.) While you may not have a carnival or fair in town as we happen to have this weekend, you may just have a permanent merry-go-round nearby. In our area, I know of at least two of them that are open during most of the year. Check with your city’s tourism department if you’re not sure if you have one or not—or if you’d like to know when the next carnival is coming to town.