Endicott celebrates carousel's 80th birthday

By Scott Sasina

July 26, 2014 Updated Jul 27, 2014 at 12:03 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG-Binghamton) Old friends returned to Endicott on Saturday for the 80th birthday of the George W. Johnson Carousel, the youngest and smallest of the 6 historic carousels in the Southern Tier.

On July 26, 1934, George W. Johnson watched children run into his carousel as he opened the gates for the first time. On Saturday, 80 years later, some of those same children returned to ride it again.

"I was ten years old and we all gathered around and took this beautiful picture because the merry-go-round was going to open and we were going to have our first ride," said Mickey Stancati, an original rider.

Nine of the original children to first ride on the carousel returned for the event.

Teresa and Carmine Ianieri grew up right across the street at 202 Oak Hill Ave. They said seeing all of these people really brings joy to their hearts.

"It's overwhelming, overwhelming. I just expected a small group of people and I am having just such a wonderful time. It is just so wonderful to be back," said the Ianieris.

Many of the women who first rode on this carousel said riding it again brings back memories they haven't thought about in a long time.

"I never left, I kept getting off they merry-go-round and getting back in line and I got in trouble when I got home. My mother was waiting for me and she gave me a big slap on the back when I got home and I said I don't care it was worth it," said Josephine Picciano, one of the original riders.

The granddaughter of George W. Johnson was there in the morning to meet and share stories with some of the people. She said knowing what her grandfather did for so many people makes riding the merry-go-rounds even more enjoyable.

"There's something that happens to me when you're going around and you see all the happy faces. And your heart just warms. It gives you such a good feeling," said Sandy Scalon, George W. Johnson's granddaughter.

Many of the original riders said they hope to return for the 90th birthday as well.