By Lookout Staff
April 15 -- If you have some spare room for a 90-foot
tall, 122,000-pound Ferris wheel lit up with 5,392 bulbs, you have
until April 25 to click on eBay and make a bid.
The solar-powered wheel on the Santa Monica Pier -- which has appeared in some
300 movies, photo shoots, commercials, TV shows and music videos -- will be
auctioned off starting at $50,000.
Fifty percent of the winning bid will be donated to Special Olympics Southern
California, said officials of Pacific Park, the two-acre seaside amusement park
on the historic pier.
“Where there is the Wheel, there is a way for Pacific Park to raise
money for Special Olympics,” said Jeff Klocke, director of marketing and
sales at Pacific Park.
“We have partnered with the great organization for more than 10 years
and feel this is the grandest gift we could offer the organization,” Klocke
said. “It’s a sign of our commitment to their mission and reinforcing
our valued long-term relationship.”
The wheel, which originally cost approximately $800,000, will be replaced with
an all-new $1.5 million solar-powered wheel with 160,000 energy-efficient LED
lights. Installation of the new wheel begins May 5 with a grand opening community
celebration scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 22.
Installed 12 years ago, the current wheel with red, white and blue traditional
light bulbs that flicker on its spokes and hub, has provided more than 3 million
rides and become a Southern California icon. The Wheel’s 20 gondolas accommodate
as many as 600 riders per hour.
“The winning bidder will gain a historical piece of Santa Monica while
making a difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes,” said Maria
Shriver, Board of Governors Special Olympics Southern California.
Chance Morgan, Inc., the Wichita, Kansas manufacturer of both Ferris wheels,
is offering the winning eBay bidder the Ferris wheel base that supports the
wheel at cost, or approximately $135,000. Chance Morgan, Inc. will donate 10
percent of the amount to Special Olympics Kansas.
The Pacific Wheel debuted May 1996 with the opening of Pacific Park and was
adapted as the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel in November 1998.
The nine-story Pacific Wheel was later selected “Best Solar System”
in the Reader’s Digest Best in America 2006.
To enter the eBay auction click