Carousel of Smiles to host workshops

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

The Carousel of Smiles will host the first of a series of pony restoration workshops next weekend.

Bette Largent hard at work with the ponies. Courtesy photo.

The workshop will take place Friday, Oct. 12 from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Sandpoint Library. Bette Largent, the curator of Spokane’s 1908 Looff Carousel, will be the guest speaker.

A wood restoration presentation will kick off the workshop from 5:15-6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a pony painting presentation from 7-8:30 p.m. Each presentation will start with an overview of the Carousel of Smiles project and will include specific techniques and methodology of the wood restoration and painting. The presentations will be followed by information on how to become involved in the project, as well as a question and answer session.

Largent will be the guest speaker for the painting workshop, and will be presenting examples of her work along with techniques and color schemes to be used on the 36 ponies that are the main attraction of the Carousel of Smiles. Largent is one of the foremost carousel preservationists and carousel horse/animal painters in the country with over 30 years of experience. She is also a board member of the Carousel of Smiles project and will be overseeing the painting efforts on the carousel.

The Carousel was first assembled in its unrestored state for the first time in 65 last winter at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. Before the unveiling, the Carousel had sat for 66 years packed away in two trailers in a Kansas farmer’s field before Clay and Reno Hutchison of Sandpoint began the Carousel of Smiles project to fully restore the historic structure.

For more information, visit the project website at

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