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Canalside carousel sponsorship honors former Wendt trustee

Canalside carousel sponsorship honors former Wendt trustee

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Family and friends raised $100,000 to name an armored carousel horse on behalf of a civic advocate who played a key role in buying the carousel slated to open this summer at Canalside.

Robert Kresse was a trustee with the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation in June 2015 when the philanthropy opted to buy the 1924 historic carousel from a Massachusetts family and donate it to the nonprofit Buffalo Heritage Carousel. Kresse was drawn to the idea of siting a family attraction at Canalside to complement a children's museum that opened in 2019.

"Retrieving and preserving this iconic element of Buffalo and Western New York's heritage is another important example of the foundation's mission and the good we can do for the region, its people and children," Kresse said in a statement that deflected individual credit for the carousel's acquisition.

A fundraising letter for the sponsorship by Diane Chrisman and Sharon Osgood spoke of Kresse's long involvement in "championing innumerable causes which have enriched educational and cultural institutions and programs locally."

Kresse's affection for children is reflected in the carousel's purchase memorandum of understanding, in which admission can never be more than $1, the letter said.

Family and friends raised an additional $7,000 to sponsor an inner row horse on behalf of Mary Ann Kresse, Robert's wife who is also engaged in civic affairs. The announcement was made at a surprise event at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum on Feb. 8 with dozens present to honor the couple.

The two horses are currently on display in the carousel museum's exhibit on the Spillman Engineering Co., which manufactured the rare park-style, three-row carousel. The wooden animals will be transported to the carousel site at Canalside this summer.

A dapple gray horse with a portrait of a dog on its blanket, shown in a Buffalo News article about the carousel last month, was adopted for $20,000 by a woman in Lake Forest, N.C., according to Corky Burger, the capital campaign director.

Fifteen carousel animals remain available for adoption. For information, go to buffaloheritagecarousel.org.

Restoration of carousel animals for Canalside heads to the backstretch

The $4 million multisided roundhouse, with glass partitions between wooden columns, will have a double-pitched metal roof with integrated solar panels and large windows.

The 6,400-square-foot pavilion will be open-air in the summer, and have a 13-foot-wide walkway around the inside of the roundhouse, with a handicapped-accessible ramp.

The carousel will have more than 400 lights, so it will have no trouble being seen after the sun goes down.

The menagerie of 34 animals, plus three display figures, features 30 horses plus a lion, tiger, ostrich, deer, giraffe, mule and sea dragon. The three chariots include a custom-carved, handicapped-accessible Erie Canal boat; an original, two-bench chariot with carved dancing goddesses on the side; and a replica of the original rocking gondolier.

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