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Brass Ring Gala to kick off Kingsport Carousel craft show

staff report • Mar 16, 2013 at 6:41 AM

The Carousel Fine Craft Show will open Friday with a gala event to benefit the Kingsport Carousel Project.

The Brass Ring Gala will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kingsport Farmer’s Market in downtown Kingsport. The $35 gala ticket will include food and drinks. There will be a cash bar, exclusive access to the Fine Craft Show, the Carousel Project volunteers along with the carousel animals and rounding boards, and carving demonstrations. Admission to the gala also includes an entry pass for the entirety of the craft show, set for Saturday and Sunday.

The Carousel Project started as one man’s dream. The late Gale Joh talked a few fellow Kiwanis members into investigating the idea. Now, Kingsport has a carousel carving studio at the Lynn View Community Center, where the carvers and painters can be found working on their animals. The studio is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Carousel Fine Craft Show will feature a collection of juried, high-quality, fine arts and crafts on display at the Farmer’s Market. The show was juried by Kingsport artisan Walt Turpening and will be open at the Kingsport Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

“We have 16 exhibits and the work ranges from fine furniture to ceramics, jewelry,” said Will Stephanos, with the City of Kingsport’s Office of Cultural Arts. “We have quilts, weaving, photography from Jeffrey Stoner. We have a couple of different furniture makers.”

The gala will also feature My New Favorites, a local group of four musicians who play a fusion of old time, bluegrass, rock, gospel, jazz and classical.

Carousel animals and paintings in progress will be on display. The public is encouraged to visit the show to see the progress of the Carousel Project and to interact with the carvers, painters and other volunteers. Tickets to the craft show are $5 for a one-day pass and $7 for a two-day pass.

The carousel will eventually be housed in its own building near the Farmer’s Market. Work continues on the platform animals and two chariots — riding benches for those who don’t want to sit on an animal. The chariots will be wheelchair-accessible.

Of the 33 platform animals, there are plenty of horses, a dragon, a giraffe, a Siamese cat, a unicorn, a cougar, a tiger, a frog, a zebra, a wolf, a rabbit, river otters, a baby elephant, a pug dog, a lion, a lynx and a golden retriever. There’s a buffalo, too, but it’s so large it won’t fit on the carousel platform.

There will also be 24 sweep animals, smaller animal carvings which will be installed along the sweeps, the beams that come outward from the center pole above the animals. There will be a cat, a raccoon, a peacock, a red tail hawk, a rooster, a monkey, a red fox, a swallowtail butterfly, a grey fox and a squirrel.

Another important part of the carousel is the 24 rounding boards, which have been hand-painted with original scenes of Kingsport and will be placed around the top of the carousel. Scenes — depicting the city up to 1956, the year the carousel frame was built — include Exchange Place, Daniel Boone, Old Kingsport Presbyterian Church, Bays Mountain, Rotherwood, the Long Island of the Holston, Allandale and Church Circle.

For more information about the Kingsport Carousel Project, visit www.engagekingsport.com.

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