Carousel supporters deserve applause

On behalf of the City of Kent and the operators of the third season of the Morford Family Carousel, I want to thank all of you who came down to Town Square Plaza to enjoy the carousel during its holiday run from Nov. 28 through Dec. 29.

This year, it truly became a tradition. Families returned more than once to ride, school choirs performed, children stood in line to whisper wishes to Santa (aka Don Vandal, a tradition in his own right, now retiring), sponsors enjoyed their own evenings at the carousel and private parties said the carousel was “an awesome centerpiece for an event.”

Once again, the carousel was operated by two local non-profit organizations, SKCAC Industries and Kent Youth & Family Services. I want to publicly thank their staff and volunteers, who contributed hundreds of hours toward making the Morford Family Carousel an important part of Kent’s holiday celebrations. Proceeds from this year’s operation went directly to these two agencies. They do so much for our community, and they were thrilled to be thanked for their efforts by the generosity of individuals and businesses, many of whom contributed well over the suggested $1-per-ride donation.

I also want to thank city staff, who ensured that systems continued to operate throughout the severe weather conditions we experienced. Freezing temperatures, heavy snow and high winds certainly tested the facility. Staff’s constant monitoring and quick responses ensured that the operators and riders were safe and as comfortable as possible every day the carousel was running.

The City of Kent has a unique treasure in this carousel, thanks to the work of the Kent Parks Foundation and the generous donors whose names are featured on the horses, a plaque and the name of the carousel itself. To each one of you, I say “thank you” for your foresight.

We are working to make the Morford Family Carousel an institution, not only during the holiday season, but at other times throughout the year, such as the summer months.

One of the necessary keys is a partnership between the City and a non-profit organization that can operate the carousel successfully as a fundraiser.

I encourage you to contact me if your group would like to explore the possibilities.

Jeff Watling

Director, Kent Parks & Recreation

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