February 14 is Ferris Wheel Day! This day celebrates the rotating wheel-shaped amusement ride featuring seats or capsules which stay upright, allowing riders to have a slow, elevated view of wherever they are.
Ferris Wheel Day is celebrated on February 14 as an homage to the Ferris wheel’s creator, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., who was born on this day in 1859. He created the original Ferris wheel in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This original Ferris wheel, also known as the Chicago Wheel, was 264 feet tall and was built to rival the Eiffel Tower, which made its debut a few years earlier in 1889 at the Paris Exposition. The original wheel held 36 cars, each able to hold 60 people, making the capacity for the wheel 2,160. It would complete two full revolutions in 20 minutes.
The Ferris wheel has since become the single most common ride at state fairs across the United States. Ever since the original wheel was built in 1893, Ferris wheel creators have constantly tried to outdo each other in order to have the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. There have since been eight tallest-ever Ferris wheels, and the current record holder is the Singapore Flyer which was opened in March 2008 and stands 541 feet tall.
Though state fairs are not commonly opened during this time of year, there are several permanent Ferris wheels across the world that are typically open year-round. If you’re not near one of these wheeled wonders, you can reminisce about the last time you rode a Ferris wheel and plan your next fair visit and subsequent Ferris wheel ride.
Happy Ferris Wheel Day!