The North Carolina State Fair will reach new heights this year, featuring the tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America.
It’s barely springtime, but officials from the fair are already hyping the massive annual October event six months away. In a release Wednesday morning, the fair announced the new 155-foot tall Ferris wheel as this year’s major addition to the usual crowd of tilt-a-whirls and teacups.
“It will definitely be something fairgoers aren’t going to want to miss,” North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a release. “The wheel is a great addition to all you can see and do at the fair, and I can’t wait to see the view from the top.”
For comparison’s sake, a State Fair spokesperson told The News & Observer in an email that the tallest Ferris wheel at the fair, the Parthenon, hovers at 108 feet tall. Other Ferris wheels range from 75 to 85 feet, the spokesperson said, with a children’s wheel about 40 to 60 feet.
The new wheel, which has made appearances at State Fairs in Florida, Oklahoma and Minnesota, will dwarf nearby Dorton Arena by more than 62 feet, according to the news release. Riders will have a 15-mile view of the Triangle, possibly as far as downtown Durham, officials said.
The wheel, made in the Netherlands by Lamberink, has 36 gondolas, offering a bird’s eye view of all the deep fried world below, and can carry more than 200 people at a time. Each gondola can seat six people for the 10-minute ride.
To ride the wheel, you’ll have to buy a separate ticket: $6 in advance or $7 once the fair opens. The wheel is also not included in the fair’s unlimited ride passes.
Name the Ferris wheel
Every giant wheel needs a name, and the state fair organizers have opened up a naming contest to christen the Ferris wheel.
“We want fairgoers’ help in naming the wheel,” said fair manager Kent Yelverton in a news release. “I’m looking forward to going through all the ideas with our team to pick a name that truly reflects the passion the people of our state have for the fair.”
Names can be submitted on the fair’s Facebook page until May 8.
The North Carolina State Fair is Oct. 17 to 27. It brings in nearly 1 million people to the fairgrounds each October, celebrating the state’s agricultural heritage and bounty, amidst carnival rides and an ever-ambitious buffet of fried foods.