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The Historic Langdale Mill Christmas Village and Merry-Go-Round

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Date: 11/29/2011 7:59 am
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The Christmas Merry-Go-Round was provided to Valley area children as a Christmas gift from the West Point Manufacturing Company in 1956. It was located on the softball field behind the Fairfax Theater/Recreation Department Building in the Fairfax community of what is now Valley, Alabama. The theater/rec building has since been torn down.

The original carousal contained 30 horses and four carriages. The horses were in sets of three and were such colors as palomino, white, black, gray, and bay. Each horse was adorned with a pine wreath and a big red bow that hung around its neck. As the years passed by, the horses on the carousel were all painted white with black manes and tails, and the pine wreaths around their necks were discontinued.

Pine garland surrounded the carousel railing, as well as the ramp and archway leading to the entrance chain. The ground was covered in sawdust, and all around were cedar trees decked in brightly colored lights. Christmas music flowed from inside the center of the carousel and filled the air with Christmas cheer.

Tickets to the carousel were free and available from a friendly person inside a big, red candle with a flame on top. One Christmas season often sees over 60,000 carousel riders and each new season welcomes a fresh crop of young riders and many older fans who are still filled with childhood memories as they revisit the wonder and the magic of the Christmas Merry-Go-Round.

After West Point Pepperell became West Point Stevens and later West Point Home Inc., the City of Valley worked with the company to help keep the Christmas Merry-Go-Round a continued tradition. In 2008, West Point Home Inc. ended operations in the Valley; the City and local corporate sponsors worked together to ensure that the over 50-years old tradition would not end and in 2011, the Christmas Merry-Go-Round will celebrate 55 years of operations.

In 2008 and 2009, the site of the Christmas Merry-Go-Round was one of the sports fields at the Valley Sportsplex. This year the Christmas Merry-Go-Round will move once more. The new home for the Christmas Merry-Go-Round will be the old Tennis Courts in front of the Historic Langdale Mill where it will become the centerpiece of the Historic Langdale Mill Christmas Village.

The Historic Langdale Mill Christmas Village will extend from the Madonna and Child, created from 1,261 lights and based on a design by Jim Bledsoe in 1961, to the Nativity scene that is located in the meadow in front of City Hall and that has been a Christmas tradition in the Valley area since 1948. The Iron Bridge; the LaFayette Lanier Elementary School and Langdale Auditorium, both built in the 1930s; and the Horace King Memorial Covered Bridge are all part of the Historic Langdale Mill Christmas Village and are all decorated for the Christmas season. The Iron Bridge is covered with thousands of tiny, white lights and the school has candles in each of the 45 Austral windows in the two story building. Also, included in the Historic Langdale Mill Christmas Village will be the Historic Langdale Mill Park that will be the new home of Rusty the Iron Man, and his wife, child, and dog, all creations of local artist Chuck Moore from railroad parts and parts once used in the area’s textile mills.

According to Wayne Clark of the Valley-Times News, the Christmas Merry-Go-Round had its 2,000,000 rider on December 11, 2004.


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