ACUSHNET (WBSM) — For generations, SouthCoast families have been making memories at Acushnet’s Country Whip. Now, one of their childhood memories from nearby Dartmouth has been resurrected to join in the fun.

Country Whip revealed on Sunday that it is the new home of the beloved mechanical horse that once stood outside Mars Bargainland in South Dartmouth and gave rides to thousands of SouthCoast children.

“It’s one of those things where the horse does give us certain memories, and we want to try to add more to it,” Country Whip owner Ronnie Fernandes said. “We get a lot of people coming here saying, ‘Oh, I’ve been coming here since I was a kid’ so here’s one more part of their childhood.”

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The Tatelbaum family opened the first Mars Bargainland on Riverside Avenue in New Bedford – in the old mill building that now houses Whaler’s Cove Assisted Living – in 1962. The second location, in South Dartmouth, opened in 1965.

The South Dartmouth location was later taken over by son David Tatelbaum, and in 1990 he opened Big Value Outlet. In 2022, he announced his retirement and the closing of the beloved store.

Many wondered at the time what would become of the mechanical horse that had thrilled generations of children for decades, going back to its Mars Bargainland days.

Big Value Dartmouth Facebook
Big Value Dartmouth via Facebook

Fernandes, who now owns and operates Country Whip with his wife Lolly, grew up riding that mechanical horse. A conversation at their former restaurant, Lolly’s Cafe, sparked his desire to own the horse.

“Dave Tatelbaum used to come into Lolly’s, and he told me the horse was for sale, that it was actually going to be auctioned off for a donation,” Fernandes said.

“I bought it because I thought it would be great at Country Whip, being that the horse was kind of like a staple in the town of Dartmouth, and Country Whip is a staple in Acushnet,” he said. “So I think the horse belongs at that type of a business.”

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

The green-and-white horse needed a little bit of work before it could be placed outside Country Whip.

“I had to replace the electrical cord,” Fernandes said. “It’s going to stay out there, and it has electrical components, so I gave it a new cord and I put a bucket over it when it rains so it doesn’t get wet, but it can handle the weather.”

The best part about the mechanical horse outside of Country Whip?

“It’s still just a quarter to ride,” Fernandes said. “And it still works, too. I saw some kids riding on it yesterday.”

READ MORE: Acushnet's Country Whip Adds Coffee and "Funky Fries"

However, Fernandes said that even though he grew up riding the horse, that’s one gallup down memory lane he won’t be making anytime soon.

“I won’t be able to ride it now,” he said with a laugh. “I think it would take a lot more than a quarter for it to move with me on it!”

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