As part of a marketing campaign, the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism office is announcing something new! Although the campaign is new, what it highlights is not. In fact, the campaign highlights something that is very old, and unique to this area.
For more than 100 years Dentzel Carousel in Meridian has served as the site for both the young and young at heart. It's the only two-row stationary Dentzel menagerie carousel in the world today. It was made by the German manufacturer, the Dentzel Factory, during the late 1800's. The structure which houses the carousel is the only remaining original carousel building that is built from a Dentzel blueprint.
In an effort to spotlight the uniqueness of the carousel itself, and a local art initiative, the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism office is unveiling a new brochure which highlights the Around Town Carousels Abound Project. Started a little more than ten years ago, it was an effort that attracted artists from around the state to paint fiber-glass carousel horses that were almost life size; businesses and individuals have purchased the horses. All funds from the project go to Hope Village for Children. Since its start 65 horses have been bought; the new brochure serves as a map for where they are located.
"There's also a downtown walking map," says Dede Mogollon, who is the director for the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Office. "So, if it's pretty out and you just want to get out and walk from horse to horse you can."
Of the more than 60 carousel horses, 16 are located downtown Meridian.
"The horses are one of the things that we get asked about the most at our office. People say, 'Tell us about the horses, and how can we go see them," says Mogollon.
The new free brochures are available at the tourism office in downtown, many hotels in Meridian, and at Union Station.
"The brochure has the history of the carousel, the history of the project, and so it's real educational as well," says Mogollon. "You've got the bulls in Chicago. You've got the swans in Hattiesburg. You've got the pelicans on the coast, but ours is unique because it mirrors our carousel, which is one of the few remaining in the country."
A complete location listing of the carousel horses can also be accessed on the website for the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism office. That address is visitmeridian.com.
The Around Town Carousels Abound Project started in the year 2002. There are currently 65 horses in all; 16 of those are located in downtown Meridian, and three are located in areas outside Lauderdale County.