Troy's Take: Carousel's Sustainable Gift Is An Endless Supply of Smiles

Troy ClarksonAmy Rader Photographer - Troy Clarkson

Rob Hutchinson has a lifetime of Falmouth memories. The Falmouth native, who now lives in Hingham but frequently returns to visit family, fondly remembers days during his childhood when he would get his hair cut at Stone’s Barber Shop back when it was located farther down Main Street, near where Celebrations is now. When Rob would finish his haircut, Phil and Dickie Stone would escort Rob out of the barber shop and help him cross the street on his way home. Memories like that not only shape a childhood, they shape the soul of the community in which that childhood is created; fond memories and the people who make them can define a generation.

When I met and chatted with Rob and his wife, Hilary, at the Carousel of Light in Falmouth Village last week, they were creating and defining new Falmouth memories for three generations, as Rob, Hilary, Rob’s mom and dozens of others watched as their children and other kids of all ages gleefully participated in the merriment and memory-making as Lance Shinkle’s handcarved opus, Falmouth’s beautiful Carousel of Light, spun its way into the hearts and memories of Falmouthites and visitors alike. 


As the carousel’s first summer (hopefully one of many) winds down in Falmouth Village, thousands of remembrances have been created, as families from more than 30 states, upwards of 10 countries, and countless locales within the commonwealth have made the trip to the carousel for three unforgettable minutes of fun and fantasy.

As I visited and watched kids from 8 to 80 sing “Let It Go” loudly and proudly as they sat atop one of Lance’s priceless works of art and eschewed technology and the issues of the day for a brief trip to a place of pure fun and innocence, I realized that the true value of having the carousel in Falmouth—the sustainable gift that the Carousel of Light has granted to our community—is its endless supply of smiles, while asking nothing in return.

Smiles are in constant supply at the carousel. Just ask newly engaged couple Melissa Patrician and John Brennan, who are making a lifelong commitment to one another next May in New York, but made their commitment known to their loved ones by having pictures taken aboard the carousel. Just ask Betsy and Bill Hike, committed and involved Falmouthites, who spend time benefitting many local charities, but who spent time at the carousel on a Saturday afternoon, beaming as their grandchildren Hadley and Benjamin gleefully completed their musical and whimsical revolutions.

Just ask Olivia and Cecelia DePunte, who convinced their dad, Craig, to make a stop on the way home from a weekend lunch for a quick and “really fun” ride, making sure they sent pictures to Mom, who was working.

Or ask the group of octogenarians and nonagenarians from nearby Atria Woodbriar who were transformed into a gaggle of giggling schoolgirls during their visit. These few smile snapshots are just a few tiles in the ongoing mosaic of magnificence that having the carousel downtown has created in our community. The Carousel of Light and its all-volunteer board hope to be a permanent fixture in Falmouth—sharing the endless supply of smiles for generations to come. Supporters can visit to help with that sustainable gift.

Carousel manager Beth Juaire was witness to those stories and many, many more, as this affable and upbeat ambassador of smiles delighted attendees with her effusive approach and endearing demeanor. Many visiting merry-go-rounders filled out comment cards, and one shared that Beth is “one of the most energetic and positive persons we’ve met.” I would agree and saw her act as a tour guide, dancer, singer, counselor, mechanic, safety officer, and DJ—all in one three-minute carousel episode. 

More grins piled up in abundance as Pharrell Williams’s smile anthem, “Happy,” wafted through the crisp late summer air and a new group of revelers boarded the carousel and I shared a smile and hello with local radio personality Dan Tritle, who took a break from his duties at WCAI to visit with family and make memories of his own. “Everyone, no matter how old, should ride the carousel,” noted this respected local voice of reason. Yes, Dan, indeed. Everyone should enjoy a ride and a smile. We offered a knowing glance as we gazed into the brightness of the setting sun and the brilliance of the revolving giggles and superlatives, both boasting broad and happy crescents on our own visages, surely like the Hutchinsons, Hikes, and betrothed New Yorkers, imprinting another magical Carousel of Light scene into memory.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.


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