But, there was a celebration, more of a quiet celebration as a crew with ILC Construction Inc., a division of International Leisure Consulting Inc., up over 400 feet off the ground, positioned and set the needle atop the Top o’ Texas observation tower, a tower that certainly will be viewed as a centerpiece on the grounds of the State Fair of Texas. The structure, rising 500 feet into the sky, is set to be completed in two months. That will give the fair staff 30 days to get trained and ready to go for the May opening of Summer Adventures in Fair Park.
“Today, in the rain, we installed the machine house, then set the building over that,” said Joe Bixler of ILC on January 8. “Then, we put the needle on top, completing the 500 feet.
“We are real delighted with the topping off,” he said. “We plan to have a barbecue this afternoon for everyone.”
The observation tower, manufactured by Intamin, is expected to be fully operational by the time the new venture opens in May. Plans are to have 25 rides, as well as other attractions such as shows, games and retail. Summer Adventures is also expected to have a 100-day operational season.
The huge structure came onto the fairgrounds in six separate tubes, prepared horizontally and then placed on top of each other by a crew varying in size from four to six people, and a hydraulic crane customized so that it could reach up to about 550 feet. It took 10 days for the company TNT to customize the 800-ton crane and it cost a half million dollars to move the crane onto and off the property.
This tower is not the only lofty achievement for Bixler and his partner Nick Galash, but it is the highest. The company has installed two Chance 60-meter wheels over the past two years, installed amusement rides for Landry’s and installed a Schwarzkopf coaster in Mexico as well as other involvements.
Bixler and Galash have been working together since 2002 under the company name, International Leisure Consulting, which Bixler started in 1987. Last year they separated the two companies, having now both International Leisure Consulting and ILC.
Full coverage of the Top o’ Texas Tower will be featured in the February issue of Amusement Today’s.