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Oak Creek — While doing research for a contest, Oak Creek East Middle School student Maggie Stoving discovered a relative built a historic carousel over 100 years ago.

Her project based on this discovery ended up winning the German American Cultural Competition's $100 first prize.

Stoving entered the competition last October sponsored by the German American Societies of Milwaukee in cooperation with German Fest. The theme was “places Germans built in America.”

Maggie Stoving’s mother, Erika said her daughter’s German teacher was encouraging students to enter. The contest is usually done in the Milwaukee German Immersion School, she said.  This was the first year it was open to the public.

Maggie Stoving’s project was on the Grand Carousel once located in Riverside Park in New Jersey and now sitting at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.  The family had held a reunion there in the past.

The resort opened in 1926 with the carousel being an early attraction and featuring 63 horses.

Making the discovery

By talking with her grandmother as well as doing research on Ancestry.com, Maggie Stoving discovered the carousel was built 103 years ago by her great, great, great uncle, George W. Kremer.

One thing that sets this carousel apart from many today is that it offers the added challenge of grabbing a brass ring while riding.  This feature was later removed from many rides due to safety concerns, but those visiting Knoebels are still able to try and get the small brass ring.

If they succeed, they get a free ride.

“I was close to getting it once,” Maggie Stoving said.

Once discovering the connection, Maggie Stoving set to work on building a replica of the carousel for the contest.  She said she purchased everything from Hobby Lobby – straws, cardboard, lights, horses, and other parts – and started construction with her dad helping to figure out the math to make everything look right and work.

Two weeks later it was finished, complete with lights and rotation, and then entered into the running.

Waiting for the win

A week before the event nothing had been heard.  Then, early one morning, an email came in informing Erika Stoving that Maggie has “won something” and they should plan to attend the award event. By the end of the week, they knew it was first place.

Erika Stoving said she woke her daughter in the middle of the night to tell her she’d won.

Maggie Stoving said she was confused, simply said, “wow, I won,” and fell back asleep.

The $100 prize went into savings, though Maggie Stoving said she didn’t really want to put it there.

Erika Stoving said there are plans to display the replica carousel at German Fest next year.

“They told us to keep it in good condition,” she said.

Since figuring out it was a relative that built the carousel, the family is anxious to return.  Maggie Stoving said she’s ready to try for that brass ring again.

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