The world’s first festival of traveling vintage French carnival rides and carousels, Fête Paradiso, will make its United States debut on Bastille Day weekend, July 13–14, on Governors Island in New York City. The rare, museum-quality collection of late-19th and early-20th century attractions includes carousels, flying swings, and a pipe organ. Visitors will have the extraordinary chance to interact with the collected works, which will be available for public enjoyment each weekend from July 6 to September 29, 2013.
Like a French film come to life, Fête Paradiso features attractions that come from the collections of Francis Staub and Regis Masclet such as a late 19th century bicycle carousel, one of two in the world built in Paris. The extraordinary celebration involves an early 20th century Music-Hall Ball Guzzler, a carnival game that contains life-size caricatures of Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Charlie Chaplin, the Fratellini Brothers, and other personalities of the era. To enhance the surreal experience, a 1900 bumper car pavilion has been converted into a beer garden, food reminiscent of a French carnival will be offered onsite, and a 1930 children’s carousel has been transformed into a music kiosk.
A French family of artisans who specialize in repairing and constructing the carousels will scrupulously assemble all of Fête Paradiso’s historic, artisan-crafted carousels and carnival rides. Admission is free, but rides and games cost $3 each.