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February 14th is Ferris Wheel Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then get ready for some amusement because it's Ferris Wheel Day!  Hop on and enjoy the view!  Let's get right into celebrating Ferris Wheel Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?  

Well today is actually the birthday of the creator of the first Ferris wheel! George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was born on this day in 1859 and went on to create the original Ferris wheel, which opened to the public in 1893.  But there were actually things called "pleasure wheels" that were around way back in the 17th century in Bulgaria. These were wooden "wheels" that had chairs attached to them which were actually powered by strong men.  But the first Ferris wheel constructed out metal that literally was a wheel is credited to George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. G.W.G. Ferris, Jr. was actually a bridge-builder in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but his Ferris wheel, sometimes called the Chicago Wheel, stood 264 feet tall and was the largest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition. This thing was huge and it definitely wasn't powered by strong men!

There were 36 cars, with 40 chairs in each, but each car could actually hold 60 people. So the first Ferris wheel could actually hold 2,160 people at once! In fact, it would carry around 38,000 passengers a day on average. And you only had to pay 50 cents for a 9 minute ride!  This giant ferris wheel stayed in operation, in different locations, until 1904 and then was sent to amusement park heaven through controlled demolition in 1906.  The Ferris wheel is one of the most common rides at carnivals and amusement parks today but could you imagine riding one that big? I bet most people would be afraid to go up that high, but they can always sit in the center of the car ;).

HOW TO CELEBRATE 

So how can you celebrate today?  Well, hop online and see what carnivals or amusement parks are in your area then check to see if they have a Ferris wheel. Most places will have them, trust me. Then take a trip with your family and friends and see if you can't get a few rides on this wonderful invention. Sure, it might be slow and repetitive but the view from up top is always nice!  Just don't be the jerk that gets the car swinging back and forth if you've got kids riding with you.
 
Even if the park isn't open it might be worth the drive to go see how the park looks when it's deserted. Go snap some pictures of the closest Ferris wheel to you and stand in awe of its size.  Or, if there are no Ferris wheels near you then you can always buy a toy Ferris wheel kit and put one together yourself!  That way you can really learn the mechanics involved in this ride.  Or even read up on the history of George Ferris and see how people liked to amuse themselves in those days.  Regardless of what you decide to do today I hope the Ferris wheel helps brighten up your day in some way.





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