Horses! Lions! and Frogs! Oh My!

April 26, 2014

MGRLT MediumEnjoy live Latin Jazz and American folk art as we kick off Merry Go Round Leonardtown on First Friday, May 2nd from 5PM to 8PM in downtown Leonardtown, MD. Leonardtown is celebrating spring and kicking off our month long promotion Merry go Round Leonardtown with a fun filled May First Friday event. There’ll be hand carved carousel horses in businesses around town and fabulous live music on the Square from CSM’s acclaimed Latin Jazz ensemble, Ritmo Cache’.

First Friday is a terrific way to enjoy art in Leonardtown. Each gallery premiers a new show with a lovely reception and other special features every First Friday. This month regular businesses become galleries with special display of one of Southern Maryland’s largest collection of American folk art a selection of handcarved, hand painted carousel horses from the Southern Maryland Carousel Group.

Carousels and carousel animals are a fascination for many people. Caught forever mid stride, carousel animals embody anticipation and the potential for a fantastical journey to wherever your imagination will take you. Who can resist a brightly painted pony festooned with intricately carved flowers and ribbons! Carousel animals are a delight and an accessible art form meant to be seen and touched and enjoyed by all. A classic example of American folk art, Carousels were tremendously popular during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Interest fell off during the great depression, but in the early 1970s, a Carousel Renaissance began, and today, talented craftspeople and artists work together to create carousel animals every bit as fabulous as those of the carousels’ golden age.

The Southern Maryland Carousel Group (SMCG) is just such an organization. This small but dedicated team of craftsmen has meticulously hand carved more than 50 carousel animals. Talented Southern Maryland artists, including Nicole Stewart, Shelby Opperman, Renee Nelson, and Rose Beitzel, have donated their talents to create a collection of unique hand painted art. There are spectacular painted ponies as well as more fanciful animals such as Jumping Josiah, the frog, Harlequin Beatrix Bunny, and
Melvin the Lion.

Burkey Boggs, lead carver for the SMCG, has fond memories of carousels. Before he and his wife were married, they would take the Wilson Line, a boat that ran from Maine Avenue to Marshal Hall to ride the carousel. Burkey says, “Carousels just bring out the kid in me.” Burkey and his team hope to establish a full scale operational carousel and museum in Southern Maryland. The facility would house an American folk art museum and feature woodcarving museum and a woodcarving learning center for youth and adults.

The Leonardtown Business Association and Town of Leonardtown is honored to host the carousel animals throughout the month of May. Children and adults alike will enjoy visiting them all. Be sure to come see all the carousel animals in the following businesses in the Leonardtown area.

1. St. Mary’s Hospital Outpatient Pavilion
2. Parran’s Flooring
3. Guenther’s Fine Wine and Spirits
4. Cafe des Artistes
5. Caught My Eye
6. Crazy for Ewe Yarn Shop
7. Dorsey Law Offices
8. Opal Gallery
9. The Crafts Guild of St. Mary’s County
10. Rehabilitation Center of Southern Maryland
11. Ye Olde Towne Cafe
12. Port of Leonardtown Winery
13. The Good Earth Natural Food Store
14. Yellow Door Art Studios
15. North End Gallery
16. S’Kape Salon

For more information about the Southern Maryland Carousel Group visit: or contact Burkey Boggs at 3019341366 or email

Learn more about First Fridays in Leonardtown at