The Sounds of Mechanical Organs are coming to Princeton!

Palmer Square is proud to support this exciting town-wide event!

Streets of Princeton, NJ to Dazzle with Sounds of Antique, Elaborate Mechanical Organs on August 6-7, 2016

(Princeton, NJ) — Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA) and Automatic Musical Instruments Collectors Association (AMICA) will combine with a band organ rally, and annual international convention to bring 100-year old large, ornate, elaborate mechanical organs to the streets, squares, and parks of Princeton for a wonderful weekend of music.

Normally originally associated with carousels, fairgrounds, skating rinks and other art and musical venues, these magnificent instruments are owned by collectors in all parts of the country and the world who lovingly maintain and restore them. During the summer, the enthusiast organizations to which most of these people belong bring them to various cities and sites for a musical and art cultural exhibition of sights and sounds for each other and the public to enjoy. Princeton for the first time will be the beneficiary of this event!

The instruments range from small “crank, grind or monkey organs” which one cranks to make music from the organ pipes and percussion, to the largest trailer-mounted organs that duplicate the feat of large marching bands or concert orchestras. All play from large paper rolls or punched cardboard.

The music ranges from old, vintage, period tunes and standards to today’s greatest hits in popular, classical, dancehall, and all types of music. Visitors are not only mesmerized by the great orchestral sounds, but also by the elaborate, colorful, and beautiful carved facades.

These instruments will play 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7. There will be interpretive desks and exhibits to educate and inform the public what they are seeing and hearing, and even the chance to join the two sponsoring organizations, AMICA and COAA.

On Saturday morning at 10 am, at Nassau Presbyterian Church, located across Nassau Street from Palmer Square, a one-hour multi-media presentation and orientation will be presented to the public to learn all about this wonderful music, the organizations, and their history.

During the week, AMICA will be holding its convention at the Nassau Inn, taking tours of the area, visiting notable collections of these instruments, and having a hospitality room at the Nassau Inn. That room will be open to the public most days and will display several of the coin-operated nickelodeons that make up another part of this great music and history. A docent will be available to explain and demonstrate these instruments.

Several hundred members of the two organizations will be visiting Princeton and the surrounding area for nearly a week to enjoy these activities.

This event is produced and organized by notable collector Glenn Thomas for both organizations, with the cooperation and support of the Princeton Arts Council, Palmer Square, YMCA, and several other merchants and civic organizations.

More information contact:

Glenn Thomas
908 447-9724 and

Skip to content