Vintage Parisian Carnival Makes American Debut on Governors Island

By Irene Plagianos on June 25, 2013 8:38am 

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 Fete Paradiso, a festival of turn-of-the-century carousels and other carnival rides, starts July 6.
Vintage Parisian Carnival on Governors Island
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GOVERNORS ISLAND — This summer, the quick ferry trip to Governors Island will also transport visitors to a whimsical Parisian Street fair that’s more than 100 years old.

Fete Paradiso, a festival of vintage Parisian carousel and carnival rides, is making its American debut on Governors Island starting July 6.

The historic collection, all from the late 19th or early 20th centuries, is being recreated on the Island by a group of French artisans who specialize in constructing museum-quality carousels, according to Fete Parasido organizers.

Among the classic attractions is a “bicycle carousel” from the late 1800s, one of only two in the world that were created in Paris to encourage the use of what was then the new mode of transportation — the bicycle. The only other bicycle carousel can be seen in the popular Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris,” according to Fete Paradiso.

The festival is also turning a vintage bumper car pavilion into a beer garden and special event space that will sell food reminiscent of a French carnival, prepared by New York French bistro Le Gamin.

A 1930 children's carousel has also been repurposed into a music kiosk, where performers will entertain with period music and sideshow performances to heighten what organizers called a “Fellini-inspired environment”

"These incredible carousels and carnival rides embody everything that is Governors Island — a series of delight and play that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages," said Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island.

Fete Paradiso runs every weekend from July 6 to September 29, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, and rides and games cost $3 each.

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