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Virginia Long goes on with her story: “The merry-go-round had an added feature for kids, and this one that was special among carousels: the Ring Toss. A bunch of rings, loaded into a hollow stake, would be extended just within reach of carousel riders. The lucky rider who grabbed the Brass Ring would win a free ride. ‘And I believe we’re the only active ring toss game west of the Mississippi,’ said Steen, who now owns the carousel. Almost everything on the carousel is original, including the ‘band organ’ and the hand-painted murals above the animals. The upkeep is extensive. My mom calls owning it a year-round labor of love. ‘It’s a well-loved merry-go-round,’ she said, ‘and I’m so glad there are a variety of animals: tigers and lions and pigs and cats. I painted the animals, and if they were all horses I would’ve been very bored!’ Steen sees it the same way. ‘It’s been 35 years of loving care, carrying on the fine traditions that Virginia and (her dad) Clarence Wilcken set up for the merry-go-round. So little has changed over these, gosh, 90+ years that the two families have owned or operated the merry-go-round,’ Steen said. So if you come to visit Balboa Park, be sure to take a spin on the carousel, which truly can take you back in time.” Carousel, Merry-go-round, Amusement, Park, Balboa Park, San Diego, California, Carousel, Horse, Carousel Horse, Horses, Carousels, France, Avignon, Summer, Sun, Fun, Fancy Fair, Feel Good, Feelings, Good, Birthday, Children, Party, Parties, Turning, Swirl