Saturday, June 25, 2022

Islanders bring a childhood fantasy to local mall

Beautiful carousel.

Beautiful carousel.

By Danielle Dodder

Treviso, Italy is a Northern Italian town outside of Venice. There, among the medieval towns and grandeur of Venice, craftsmen in a workshop create traditional carousels with whimsy and charm. One such carousel is now smack in the middle of the noisy modernity of the Coastland Center, courtesy of local company Island Carousel, and if your kids haven’t discovered it already, they soon will.

“We actually went last weekend for the first time. The girls did like it, they went on three times. Jaelynn said something to the effect that she felt like Rapunzel with her hair blowing!” says resident Tammy Skrzynski.

Islander William Christ is the president of the company, which owns and operates carousels nationwide. The company itself is the joint project of the Christ family and a partner. The name originated from Christ’s first carousel operation at Harbor Island in Tampa Florida. He explained that from the first opening in 1985, Island Carousel has grown to 34 carousels around the US, amusement park trains, and a Ferris wheel.

“Island Carousel has as its objective to make thousands of children happy every day,” says Christ.

All of the artwork on the carousels is original and characteristic of Venice.

Although the Christs grew their business, they didn’t have a location for a local project. After 15 years, they finally got the go-ahead to place one of their carousels at the Coastland Center mall. It opened in October 2010.

“It’s safe to say that all of our children and grandchildren enjoy the privilege of being able to visit our carousels,” says Christ.

The Christ family has lived year round on Marco Island since 2002.


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