Why is called "#5 Big Eli"?
Our Ferris Wheel
It's back! Our Historic Erieview Park Ferris Wheel, made in 1956,
is back home on the grounds of The Old Firehouse Winery.
Our ferris wheel is located on our Sunset Patio at the northeast
corner of the winery, and it offers a great view of Lake Erie.
The wheel is open for rides nightly throughout the summer season.
Indulge in just a little bit of nostalgia as you watch the sun set over the
Here's a video clip for you to enjoy!
The Old Firehouse Winery: Adult beverages, food, and entertainment seven nights in season.
We are continually asked some interesting questions about our "Iconic" ferris wheel, so as a break from our usual self-promoting and grandizing, here is something "educational".
It was considered their "Fifth" model made from the original patents from George Ferris. William Sullivan, a steel bridge builder, saw the original "Ferris Wheel" at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He was intrigued with the concept after riding the wheel and meeting with Ferris, and eventually patented the design. His company, the "Eli Bridge Company", still uses the patented design today.
Here's their website: Eli Bridge Company
How old is this wheel?
It was purchased new by the Pera-Woodward family in 1956 and placed in the now defunct "Erieview Park". After it's closure in 2007, the winery completely rehabilated and rebuilt the wheel and relocated it to where it now sits at Old Firehouse Winery
Does the "Eli Bridge Company" still make Ferris Wheels?
Yep, fifth generation owner Patti Sullivan is still cranking out Ferris Wheels out of their Jacksonville, Illinois plant. You can see a picture of Patti with winery part-owner Woody on this page. Patti made a special trip just to see one of her Ferris wheels at a winery!
Patti and Woody
Is it true you are the ONLY winery in the WORLD with a working Ferris wheel?
Yep! After many glasses of wine and extensive internet research, we can confidently claim that we are the only one with a ferris wheel. We did find one with a train ride into their vineyards, but no Ferris wheel.
Here is a great image of our wheel at dusk: Our Wheel at Dusk
Why are the feet rests put in at night and sometimes we see the top three cars removed?
In case of high winds, this makes the "wheel" more streamlined and less vulnerable to wind.
How often it is inspected?
The wheel goes through several rounds. A daily inspection is made by the staff of Sportcenter Fun, LLC, who operates and maintains the wheel under contract. The State of Ohio, ride inspection division, licenses and inspects the ride annually and also makes an operational inspection. Lastly, the insurance company also makes a complete inspection and review of the operation.
How long is the ride?
It depends how many riders. It takes a while to load, and note that they "balance" the wheel by staggering where the riders are placed. So anywhere from 4 minutes to 10 minutes.
Hey, I want to ride. What's the deal?
It's open weekends in May and Septemeber, and daily during the summer. It's open 2 PM to 10 PM, weather permitting. It's $3.75 a ride. Just see a winery server. They all sell tickets!