Epic buys iconic Wisconsin restaurant's carousel, circus-like decor

Verona, Wis.-based Epic purchased the famous outdoor carousel and whimsical art from the historic Ella's Deli — a restaurant in Madison, Wis., that closed in January after 41 years, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

"It's really good news. It all happened very, very fast," Ken Balkin, who co-owns the Ella's Deli building and business with his wife, told the Journal. The sale reportedly occurred in June, but neither Mr. Balkin nor Epic would disclose the cost to the Journal. "Epic Systems has purchased the carousel and the art collection and they're going to carry it forward into their campus in a real positive way."

Epic will move the carousel, which dates back to 1927, and the 250 interior decor items in full to its campus. In its hay-day, the restaurant was decked-out in clowns and circus-themed memorabilia including old toys that circled the building's interior.

Mr. Balkin had considered selling pieces of the decor separately, but to keep the moving parts in working order, it is important they stay together. "The whole collection is going to stay together. So we're real excited about that," he told the Journal.

Much of the art featured on Epic's campus comes from Madison artists, so Epic's latest purchase is reminiscent of its dedication to supporting the local community. The EHR-giant plans to reassemble the carousel to working order but hasn't yet revealed whether it will be operational. It anticipates all the decor to be moved by late July.

"Helping to preserve part of this iconic Madison landmark was an easy decision and we look forward to ensuring the carousel and creative collection find a happy home on the Epic campus," Epic Administrator Kara Rettenmund told the Journal.

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