Over the next two months, volunteers will be painting and assembling the 15,000-pound merry-go-round.
"All of the pieces for the carousel are here. All we have to do is paint it, decorate it and put it together," said volunteer Bruce Goguen on Tuesday, adding that everything is fully paid off.
A small 5-horsepower engine will power the handcrafted carousel, featuring more than 784 LED lights, as organizers look to start operations this summer in a tent outside of the former Crane mill on Flansburg Road.
From there, the organization will be continually raising the $1.6 million needed to construct a building to house it permanently.
"We really just got here. This is the beginning of the capital campaign," said Executive Director Maria Caccaviello.
The pieces were delivered two weeks ago to the current workshop. Now volunteers are painting the panels to include such aspects as family portraits of donors or placing Norman Rockwell prints on them. Thirty-four horses have been carved and painted and are now on display throughout Dalton.
Meanwhile, the organization has found yet another source of income: It has been contracted by both individuals and other carousels to rehab their horses.
"We've created a new form of sustainable income," Caccaviello said.
Caccaviello believes the carousel will be up and running in June, which should help jump-start the capital campaign for the building. She added that handicapped bathrooms have always been in the plans for the new building; the project had to add them to current location to comply with Americans With Disabilities laws.
"It is obvious that you have to have bathrooms and be ADA compliant," Goguen said. "We're not just prepared to finance them [right now]."
Caccaviello said they have an array of pledges and donations already but they are far from hitting the $1.6 million mark. The organization will be ramping up the campaign in the coming weeks and holding various fundraisers.
Those fundraisers includes an international food, wine and beer tasting at Ventfort Hall on Saturday, March 22, and "Painting with the Ponies," a painting class coupled with wine and chocolate tastings on Wednesday, March 26.
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