Ocean City is one of the mid-Atlantic’s signature summer vacation destinations, with a major annual impact on Maryland’s tourism economy and workforce. Located on the city’s famed boardwalk, Trimper’s Rides and Amusement Park is a cherished institution, drawing visitors old and new each year to enjoy its classic rides–a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a carousel featuring a menagerie of animals. Many of these are maintained through the love and dedication of local artist, author, and illustrator Joanne Guilfoil.
Founded in 1893 by Daniel and Margaret Trimper, Trimper’s is the oldest family-owned amusement park in the United States and a landmark in Ocean City, along the state’s historic Eastern Shore. Recognized in 2016 by the Maryland State Arts Council with a Maryland Heritage Award, today Trimper’s is operated by the fifth generation of the Trimper family.
Joanne Guilfoil’s artwork is heavily influenced by life along the Delmarva Peninsula. Originally from Westchester County, New York, Guilfoil moved to Potomac, Maryland, for high school. She quickly fell in love with the Eastern Shore. Often sick as a child, Guilfoil saw art as her outlet. She was trained first as an artist then as an art teacher, working with all ages. Her publications include textbooks on environmental design and field-guide paintings of mid-Atlantic fish and reptiles in gouache and acrylic.
Local to Delmarva, and an active member of the Art League of Ocean City, Guilfoil began to notice damage and weathering to one of Trimper’s historic pieces, an early-20th-century ticket booth considered an Art Nouveau masterpiece. After pleading with the Trimper family for several years to let her fix it for free, she finally received permission. Trimper’s bought the paint, while Guilfoil donated her time as community service in the name of the Art League. It took only a month for Guilfoil to restore the piece. From that breakthrough moment, she entered into an agreement with Trimper’s to continue to restore other pieces throughout the park.
Guilfoil will demonstrate her skills as an artist turned historic amusement park restorer by working on two Trimper’s children’s carousel horses during the festival weekend.