BUFFALO (WKBW) — The horses are installed, the organ is cranking, and the stage is set. The dream of bringing an historic carousel to Canalside is now only weeks way from becoming a reality. The Buffalo Heritage Carousel is entering the final stages of construction with an eye on opening on Memorial Day weekend.
"It's actually really exciting", says Carima El-Behairy, the Director of Operations and Development for the Buffalo Heritage Carousel. "Some days I wake up saying what is happening today? Other days I wake up and say, aren't they done yet?", she added with a laugh.
The $6 million project has been years in the making and this week the carousel itself is covered in plastic.
Crews are hard at work installing and sanding the wood floor inside the building which houses the attraction. "It's almost like a boardwalk that is going around the carousel. Once the sanding starts we want to protect the carousel horses and the mechanics of the carousel. We don't want any dust in there.", added El-Behairy.
Orignally carved in 1924 in North Tonawanda the carousel has been fully restored. "The restoration for this carousel took over four years. It took hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work to complete. Each horse took around 200 hours alone to restore", said El-Behairy.
The majority of the carousel has been returned to its original form but unlike 100 years ago the attraction will now be fully solar powered. "The Tesla solar roof will power the carousel 100 percent and what extra energy we have will go back into the grid.", said El-Behairy. We are trying to reduce out energy footprint as much as we possibly can".
The Buffalo Heritage Carousel will offer rides for $1 for the entire family and is prepared to safely follow all COVID-19 guidelines when it opens.
"It's going to have almost a sense of normalcy. Finally we need something to look forward to. We need something to bring our kids to and we need to know our kids are going to be safe"