One weekend in early April 2022 I woke up to a very confusing text message from my mom, urging me to get Eli down to the Ventura Harbor Carousel. The text continued to inform me that this would be the very last weekend the carousel would be open before it becomes a beer garden. So of course I go down to the Ventura Harbor Carousel with my family. My husband and I both took turns riding the carousel with Eli and it really did not feel like anyone else in the building knew how important this day really was. It was the end to an era. I was feeling very nostalgic after my ride and asked the man behind the counter for a ticket, that I could keep for Eli’s baby book. Tristan Thames, a co-owner of the Ventura Harbor Carousel handed me a blue vintage carousel ticket from the 1980’s! I really did not know what to say, so I just said exactly what was on my mind. “How could you close this place down?” That is when I found out that the closure was not voluntary, in fact the Ventura Harbor Commission refused to renew the lease after nearly 40 years. — I would do some research into who the Ventura Harbor Commission is, but I have a gut feeling that whoever they are, they did not grow up in Ventura, CA. I mean who rips out the heart of a city and replaces it with a metaphorical pacemaker run on batteries from the dollar store? The Ventura Harbor Carousel was hands down the best part of the Harbor Village and not one of us “Ventukians” could have ever guessed that one morning it could all be gone.
Fast forward to the end of July 2022. My husband all of a sudden wants to get in the car and drive to the Pacific View Mall, located in Midtown Ventura, CA. We walk in through the grand entrance of the very dead mall and head directly up to the food court. Eli wanted french fries, I wanted something vegetarian and my husband wanted food – so we settled on a very tasty place deemed “Charlie’s.” My husband orders while I take Eli to find a place for us to sit and we find a place by the large window to the even larger balcony. My husband starts walking towards us, muttering something incoherently. Apparently Eli and I have sat down at an occupied table… oops. Halfway through our lunch, my husband points to the far corner of the room and says, “there’s a Ferris wheel!” I look outside thinking that he can see the County Fair setting up and I see the carousel from the Ventura Harbor! It looked like it been there forever, it was all shiny and cleaned up – ready for the grand reopening of the famous Ventura Harbor Carousel! I’m so happy that it has found a new home and not stuck in a storage box in Tristan’s driveway. The carousel had been on sale for $120k the last time I had seen it back in April and apparently a deal was made with the Pacific View Mall to have it open to the public Summer 2022. Whatever the deal was, I am just elated to see it again. If by chance, I am not the last person to know the new location of the infamous carousel – then please leave a comment below!