The West Point Pepperell Mill Co. gave Valley-area children a present in 1956. It was the Christmas Merry-Go-Round in a field behind the Fairfax Theater in Fairfax, Ala. Fairfax is now called Valley. The theater is no longer standing, but the carousel is still going strong.
The original carousel had 30 horses and three carriages. Each horse had a pine wreath and a red bow.
In subsequent years, the horses were all painted white with black manes and tails. The pine wreaths were eliminated.
More than 60,000 people ride the carousel free every year.
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It opens for day care centers and schools Tuesday and opens to the public on Dec. 9.
It's open for schoolchildren and day care students 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 23.
It's open to the public 5-9 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 23; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday through Dec. 24 and 1-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 18.
Family Nights are 5-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Dec. 24. There will be food, crafts, children's activities, Santa Claus' House and choirs singing on those nights.
It's on the old tennis courts in front of the Historic Langdale Mill.
To get there from Columbus take I-85 north to Valley. Take exit 77 at the Ford dealership and take a right on Fob James Drive. Stay on Fob James Drive until it intersects with U.S. 29. Stay on the right before the traffic light on U.S. 29. Tade the first left and park in the Historic Langdale Mill parking lot.
Remember, the carousel rides are free.