The Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel is a non-profit initially focused on hand carving and painting horses for a new carousel. The new carousel and building were constructed to reflect the historic Columbia Gardens that was Butte's 'playground' until ultimately destroyed in a 1973 fire. As a project manager to construct the carousel building, Sonya Rosenthal, member in the Chateau Quilt Guild, was called upon to develop a canopy for the carousel. Of course the idea to build a canopy came after the carousel structure was erected and it was no longer easy to measure the components! So, the design was developed on some guessing and finger crossing and hoping that there would be an easy way to connect it once it was made. Sonya's design was based on creating 12 separate sections, thereby allowing them to flutter and billow as the carousel rotated. The sections were basically triangular with the short side being 10' long, and the long sides being 23' long. The fabric is a special parachute type fabric with flame resistant treatment; special thread with flame resistant treatment was also used. After Sonya made one prototype section, the Chateau Quilt Guild had 2 work sessions to manufacture the remaining sections. There are 3 colors (red, blue and yellow) and we had the hardest time with the red thread! We had hoped for a green canopy section, however that color was discontinued. The exciting night was when it was time to hang the canopies! It was a Sunday night and the first time we had the hanging devices and canopy sections together. We quickly discovered that the canopy sections were to long. The guild members scurried to get machines in place to shorten each of the sections by about one foot. We did not worry about the edges being rounded to better follow the carousel edges. When we shortened the sections, the only thread we could discover was our not-favourite red thread!
What a great project! After each section was initially completed, the sewer rang the bell! And we did the same thing that Sunday night where we were doing modifications!