Columbia Gardens carousel open after 20 years in the making - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Columbia Gardens carousel open after 20 years in the making

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BUTTE - The Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel is finally open, after the original ride burned down over 40 years ago.

Nondys Mason is the artist who hand-painted every horse on the carousel. "Each one is hand carved, hand-sanded and I hand paint," said Mason. 

The process took Mason over 20 years to complete.

Each horse on the carousel is sponsored by a group or organization. Mason said it costs $5,000 to sponsor a carousel horse.

The sponsors usually have a specific idea of how they want their horse to look.

"Sometimes they don't care what color I paint them and that's when I have the most fun because I can use my artistic way," she said.

Mason makes the vision of each sponsor come to life. "There's a story behind every horse," said Mason.

"When you talk to people from Butte about the Columbia Gardens, you will never hear a bad word said about the Columbia Gardens," said Mason.

Mason is thrilled that the Butte community can finally enjoy the horses. Each horse takes on average 250 hours to paint.

"To see the joy on their faces, too, is so worth it," said Mason.

The carousel is free to children under six. For children over six, it costs $1. It's $1 for senior citizens and $2 for adults.

Spirit of Columbia Gardens is named after the historic Butte amusement park, once the largest park in the state. It burned down in 1973 and the land soon was claimed by the Anaconda Copper Co's Berkeley Pit.

Click here for the modern-day Spirit of Columbia Gardens Facebook page.

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