The Ferry County Fair Merry-Go-Round has been a part of the Ferry County fair since 1958, when a group of local ranchers co-signed a loan for $2,000 to purchase it in Tacoma. It arrived in Republic in the back of a wheat truck and, to this day, is one of the main attractions at the fair each Labor Day weekend.
The Merry-Go-Round and its hand carved horses were built by the Armitage Herschell Spillman Companies between 1895-1900 and
is a portable “country fair” carousel, named for the traveling machines popular during that time. Of the 6000 carousels carved around the turn of the century, approximately 150 remain operational in the United States today.
All 24 horses on the machine were hand carved, but 2 of the horses are believed to have been carved by Charles Dare, another noted carousel manufacturer of the 1900’s. While Armitage Herschell Spillman horses have very simple lines, the Dare horses have a distinctly different style, featuring an arched neck and head and a martingale breastplate.
The horses were originally mounted on a track steam machine as indicated by their belly mounts. The machine that now runs the carousel was built by Hatfield Engineering in 1935, when the entire machine was converted to the jumping mechanism that exists today.
Since its arrival in Ferry County, the carousel had been painted once but until the restoration project began in 1993, it had never been fully restored. The county has resolved never to sell the merry-go-round and agreed to allow the Merry-Go-Round Friends committee to oversee the restoration and fund-raising efforts.
It is the only carousel in North Central Washington, one of only two in Eastern Washington. This carousel features 24 horses, which are all jumpers.