The Kingsport Carousel has been recognized as one of the Nicest Places in America by Reader’s Digest magazine.
Nicest Places in America is a nationwide search for places (towns, neighborhoods, businesses or someone’s front porch) where people are kind, differences are celebrated and the Golden Rule is as instinctive as “please” and “thank you.”
Reader’s Digest announced this year’s winners in its September 14 magazine and the Today Show highlighted the winners on its Wednesday morning broadcast.
“We are so honored to have the Kingsport Carousel as part of our community,” said Hannah Powell, cultural arts program coordinator for the city. “We are so excited that everyone else on a national level now knows about our treasure so that we can share it with them too.”
The Kingsport Carousel is located at 350 Clinchfield Street in downtown Kingsport and is open to the public year-round. The carousel includes 32 wooden riding animals and two chariots, 24 rounding boards depicting notable sites within the city and 24 hand-carved “sweep” animals around the top.
The project began 14 years ago as a dream of the late Gale Joh, who grew up in Binghamton, N.Y. — the “Carousel Capital of the World.” After Joh died in 2010, former Alderwoman Valerie Joh and local volunteer Reggie Martin picked up the mantle and formed the nonprofit organization “Engage Kingsport” to push the project forward.
More than 300 volunteers worked for five years to hand-carve and paint platform and sweep animals for the working 1956 vintage Herschell carousel. The carousel opened to the public in 2015 and since then more than 500,000 men, women and children have taken the $1 ride on the majestic attraction.
For more information about the Kingsport Carousel visit www.arts.kingsporttn.gov/kingsport-carousel.