Getting There

About the Carousel
INDGerard L. Cafesjian
INDOur Fair Carousel



Getting Involved

About the Band Organ

About America's


Outside-row horse

The Carousel at a Glance

lead horse

Builder. Cafesjian's Carousel was built in 1914 by Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It is known as PTC 33 because it is the 33rd machine they made. The company employed German and other immigrants to do most of the carving and painting. The word "toboggan" in the company name is an old term for roller-coaster car, which was the company's original product.

Size. The carousel is 50 feet across at the platform and 54 feet at the upper rim. It weighs 30 tons and is suspended from a center pole.

The carousel's name. The carousel is named for the late Gerard L. Cafesjian, who contributed the major share of the money needed to rescue it from auction, restore it and build its pavilion in Como Park. Read more.

Owner-operator. The non-profit community-based organization Our Fair Carousel, Inc., owns Cafesjian's Carousel and operates it with volunteers. The 501(c)(3) organization accepts contributions to help support ongoing maintenance and restoration. Read more.

David Lightfoot Carver. The chief carver of this carousel was David Lightfoot, an English immigrant who learned the craft working alongside PTC's other talented carvers. No records identified him as head of the carving shop, but his style characterizes PTC carousels created from 1913 to about 1916. In fact, his work was wrongly attributed to other notable carvers until OFC founder Peter Boehm solved "the mystery of the unknown carver." Read all about Lightfoot and his distinctive work in State Fair Carousel: Saving a Minnesota Treasure.

History. The carousel spent its first 75 years at the Minnesota State Fair. In 1988 it was headed for a New York auction. Read about its dramatic rescue.

Restoration. One of only three operating carousels still in original paint, the carousel has been restored to its 1914 beauty. See before and after photos.

You can be involved. There are many ways to participate in the life of the carousel.
What to look for
when you go...
  • 4 rows of horses, called jumpers because they go up and down as the carousel turns
  • 68 horses and 2 chariots, all hand-carved
  • Fancy trappings such as saddle blankets, flowers and western motifs
  • 18 scenic paintings around the upper rim, created by volunteer artists to represent the style and subject matter of the original paintings, which were destroyed by fire in 1939)
  • A fully restored Wurlitzer 153 band organ (it replaces the original band organ which was also destroyed by fire in 1939)

rockinghorse Center, David Lightfoot and his young son pose with "Smokey" (also seen above), carved by Lightfoot to closely resemble several distinctive horses--like that at far left--on PTC carousels carved between 1913 and 1916. These and other family photos helped identify Lightfoot as the head carver of Cafesjian's Carousel.

Our Fair Carousel, Inc.,
not-for-profit owner and operator of Cafesjian's Carousel,
1245 Midway Parkway, St. Paul, Minnesota 55103