No whinnying or stamping came from inside the Flying Horses Carousel on Saturday morning. But Katherine Manning, seven, knew the horses were in there waiting for her, just as they have waited for children like her for more than 140 years.

Flying Horse staff call early arrivals that stand at the window foggers. — Mark Lovewell

Katherine had her nose pressed against the glass, her mother Liz Manning waiting with her in the cold spring air, as the clock ticked down to the start of the Oak Bluffs carousel’s 141st season. Ellie, John and Lauren, Katherine’s siblings, were waiting in the warm car. The Mannings make the trip to their house in Vineyard Haven from Quincy every Easter.

Manager Robin Meader has an affectionate name for the kids who stand close to the glass doors: foggers.

“The [employees] just finished cleaning the outside of those windows in the summer, all of a sudden we look over and see all these little faces pressed against them with their breath fogging them up,” she said.

Ms. Meader has managed the Flying Horses for 29 years and said nothing much has changed. She has overseen generations of workers; in one case she gave a young man his first job and then, years later, that man’s son his first job, too.

Gates open for inaugural ride. — Mark Lovewell

The nation’s oldest continually operating platform carousel, the Flying Horses was built in 1876 by Charles Dare. In 1884, it travelled from Coney Island to Oak Bluffs, where it remains in operation, owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

With three minutes left until the 11 a.m. opening time, Katherine was unsure if she could make it. “I can’t wait that long,” she said.

When the doors finally opened, the Manning children got right in line while Mrs. Manning bought tickets. Katherine and Ellie, nine, selected smaller horses next to John and Lauren’s big horses.

“It’s easier to get the rings,” Katherine said, referring to the brass rings that riders try to collect from a chute as they ride the carousel.

Seth Donald, 16, of Storrs, Conn., grabbed the first brass ring of 2016. — Mark Lovewell

Katherine picked a winner, and got the first brass ring of the day from the inside horses.

Seth Donald, 16, collected the very first brass ring of the season from his perch on one of the outer horses. His technique was to grab as many rings as possible, each time around.

Ms. Meader said that in her years of experience, brass ring gathering really comes down to luck.

After the first carousel ride, children wandered into the arcade to try out the new racing game, or purchased bags of freshly popped popcorn.

One young girl turned hopefully to her mother. “Can I go again?” she asked.

Flying Horses will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Memorial Day, when it returns to a full schedule for the summer season.