Visitors to the African-American Achievers Association annual festival will get the chance to try out a rare, vintage amusement park ride.
Bill Sams, owner of Sams Amusements, was busy Thursday morning setting up what he said was a 1922 Herschell-Spillman carousel in Warren’s Courthouse Square. The ride features the original horses.
“It’s all original. We rebuilt it after a fire almost destroyed it,” Sams said.
Sams wasn’t sure of the ride’s history, save that it sat in a barn in Elyria for years before the barn caught fire and damaged it. He got the ride for free from its owner.
Restoring the carousel to its original glory was the matter of three months of repairs and about $20,000, he said.
“The horses got the worst of it. They were really bad,” said Dave Conley, who worked with Sams on the project.
Conley and Sams researched the rides on the Internet for information on what they had. According to the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum Web site, the company dates back to the 1900s and specialized in portable amusement rides for traveling carnivals.
There are some changes to Sams’ carrousel. The floor is metal instead of wood, it uses a stereo instead of the old-time calliope, and some of the horses are fiberglass, but Sams believes his ride could be worth as much as $40,000.
He’s not interested in selling it, though.
“It’s a pretty nice piece,” Sams said.
The Trumbull County African-American Achievers Association annual festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Sunday in Courthouse Square in downtown Warren.
Opening ceremonies are noon Friday with a ribbon cutting and vocalist Brian Williams singing ”The Black National Anthem.”
Other events planned for Friday are line dancing from 4 to 5:45 p.m., Bernard Ricks Memorial Boxing Show at 6 to 8:45 p.m., and Billy Johnson and the Old School Band from 8 to 10 p.m.
A parade at noon with grand marshal Don Emerson will kick off Saturday’s events.
Saturday activities include drill team 1 to 2 p.m., African dance from 2 to 2:45 p.m., poetry and face painting from 3 to 3:45 p.m., a talent show from 4 to 6 p.m., a fashion show from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m., and Total Package Band and Ballroom Steppers from 8 to 10 p.m.
On Sunday are gospel performances with Second Baptist Praise Squad at 2 p.m., and La’Mon Howard and Company presenting choirs, soloists, musicians, liturgical dancers, mimes, drama groups, youth presentation and the 2009 TCAAAA Mass Choir from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Closing remarks will be by Bob Davis the TCAAAA president.
The three-day festival will include rides, games, food, arts and crafts, health information, entertainment and voter registration.