The Tilt-a-Whirl's inventor gets a new monument in his hometown

Yes, the carnival ride got its start in Minnesota.
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Herb Sellner's not around to hear it, but his hometown of Faribault, Minnesota is saying a big thank you to him on Thursday.

The inventor of the Tilt-a-Whirl will be memorialized when one of the carnival ride's vintage cabs is placed in front of the State Bank of Faribault.

Rescued from an auto salvage yard, it's been lovingly restored by two former employees of Sellner Manufacturing and painted in the colors of the Faribault High School Falcons.

It was on display during Faribault Heritage Days last month. In a noon ceremony on Thursday it gets a new home in front of the bank.

The 2nd restored Tilt-a-Whirl has special meaning

If this all sounds a little familiar, that might be because Faribault has already done something similar.

A few years ago the History Channel's reality show American Restoration did an episode called "Boy Meets Whirl" which featured a beat-up old Tilt-a-Whirl cab getting restored.

The blog Minnesota Prairie Roots has lots of photos from the 2014 event when that Tilt-a-Whirl was returned to Faribault.

The thing is, American Restorations had a company in Las Vegas do the restoration work. This time around, it was done locally, with Dwight Henning handling the fiberglass work and Karen Bassert applying the original Tilt-a-Whirl graphics.

Henning and Bassert both worked on Tilt-a-Whirl cars at Sellner Manufacturing until 2011, when the company was sold and production moved to Texas. The factory had opened in 1927, the year after Herb Sellner made the first Tilt-a-Whirl at his home.

"He put Faribault on the map"

Peggy Keilen and another Faribault business owner, Tami Schluter, have been leading the restoration effort for years – getting the History Channel interested and then raising money for a couple more locally-restored Tilt-a-Whirls, the Faribault Daily News reports.

Keilen tells the newspaper:

“This is about Herb Sellner and recognizing him and his ability to create wonderful additions for Faribault and the entertainment industry. He needs the notoriety and the thank you. He put Faribault on the map, in my opinion.”

Karen Bassert, who now works with Design Specialties, adds: “It’s neat to keep the history going. I don’t want Sellner Manufacturing’s name to fall off. They have a big history in Faribault.”

Faribault also has another visual reminder of its locally grown carnival ride. One of several murals painted on downtown walls is an ode to the Tilt-a-Whirl.

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