By AT Staff | February 13, 2017
TAMPA, Fla. – The 2017 Florida State Fair is in full swing at the Fairgrounds in Tampa. And what was already the nation’s largest Midway now is enhanced with the addition of the Midway Sky Eye – the largest travelling Ferris Wheel in North America. Construction of the 155 foot tall giant Wheel, which was a spectacle in itself, was completed on Sunday night. The ride opened for its first thrill seekers at 2:30 p.m. on Monday after a thorough safety inspection.
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture, cut the ribbon on the Midway Sky Eye and was joined by Florida State Fair Authority Director Cheryl F. Flood, Chairman of the Board Doyle E. Carlton III, Board Treasurer Linda Syfrett and Frank Zaitshik, president of Wade Shows and Midway manager, for the inaugural ride.
The Midway Sky Eye was manufactured by the Lamberink company in the Netherlands, and the pieces were shipped to the United States in late January. Owned by Wade Shows, the Fair’s Midway coordinator, the Sky Eye is making its North American debut at the Florida State Fair.
Comprised of more than 500 pieces, construction of the Wheel required an 80-ton crane, at a cost of $3 per minute. The heaviest part is the center axle, which weighs 6,600 pounds. In all, the ride weighs more than 400,000 pounds – as much as two blue whales.
The Midway Sky Eye is lit by more than 524,000 individual LED red, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple lights, ensuring its place as the brightest spectacle at the Fair. Powering the Sky Eye requires more than six miles of electrical wiring, which is enough to stretch from the Fairgrounds to Ybor City.
The Sky Eye is equipped with 36 gondolas that hold six people each. Riders can see more than 15 miles from the top – from Land O’ Lakes to Apollo Beach!
As a special Valentine’s Day treat, rides on the Midway Sky Eye will be 2-for-1 on Tuesday only. The Sky Eye is one of 126 rides at the Florida State Fair, which also includes more than 100 things to see and do included in the price of admission. The Fair runs through Monday, February 20.
For more information about the fair, including a schedule of events and ticket information, visit www.floridastatefair.com. Follow the Fair on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floridastatefairgrounds and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/flstfairgrounds for the latest updates and announcements.