Thousands turn out to Carousel Park for first Spring Festival

A whopping 6,800 people from throughout the region turned out to Carousel Park on Saturday for a picture-perfect day in the sun at the county’s first Spring Festival.

Guests got to dine on cotton candy and popcorn and take a long, leisurely hayride around the 217-acre park while waiting on a visit from the Easter Bunny, who stuck around for some family pictures and a few selfies.

Folks also toured the equestrian stables and barn, played with a variety of baby animals, and took full advantage of the “bark park” with their four-legged friends.

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon, who recently recommended $18 million to be spent over a three-year period to upgrade several county parks, said that the day went better than he expected.

“Not having done that before, you expect several hundred. We were hoping for several thousand, and that’s what we ended up with,” Gordon said. “There is just such a demand for programs like this at our parks – that’s what that told us.”

The attendance numbers, Gordon said, also shows that people are rediscovering the park after a recent series of renovations.

“They haven’t been able to use it in eight years and they didn’t avail themselves of it, so they didn’t know what’s there,” he said.

Traffic along Route 7 was backed up to the Kirkwood Highway, Gordon said, as people arrived throughout the day.

New Castle County Police assisted with traffic, while numerous volunteers handled the parking.

Gordon said that there were a few “tweaks” that he felt were needed, but that all in all the day went smoothly with no major incidents to report.

“I kind of wished that we’d captured everyone’s email,” Gordon said. “There’s a few things I think we could do better next time.”

Gordon said that county employee Chuck Stirk was in charge of finding the dozens of volunteers who ran the day’s activities and helped coordinate the entire event.

Gordon said he would like to see more events like the one last Saturday, adding that it’s a matter of finding out what kind of events brings the people out.

“I’d like to do them every two or three weeks,” he said.

Carousel Park and Equestrian Center is located at 3700 Limestone Road. For more information, visit