The Virginia Dare Building is still the tallest structure in Elizabeth City. But over in the Waterfront Park parking lot, a newly erected 65-foot-high Ferris Wheel is just as impressive a sight.
The Ferris Wheel, operated by Florida-based Deggeller Attractions, is one of the new attractions at this year’s N.C. Potato Festival set to get underway Friday at 5 p.m.
“Well, you always want to do something different for your patrons each year,” said Jody Cadwell, spokesman for Deggeller Attractions, which has been providing mechanical rides at the Potato Festival since the 2014 event. “When they walk in, even if it’s just putting a ride in a different place, you don’t want your customers to see the same ole thing every year.”
Cadwell said the Ferris Wheel, which was built in the early 2000s, has been retrofitted and updated with an all-new lighting system.
“It’s a show,” he said.
While he didn’t know the precise speed of the Ferris Wheel, he said “It’s a slow, easy ride.”
The Ferris Wheel isn’t Deggeller’s only new addition to this year’s Potato Festival.
Also new this year are 16 bumper cars. Cadwell said the system powering the amusement ride has been used for a while, but the cars themselves will be used for the first time at this weekend’s Potato Festival.
Cadwell said he didn’t have to replace any rides from last year’s event to accommodate the Ferris Wheel and bumper cars. He said he approached Potato Festival organizers and said, “If we can make room, I can bring these two rides.”
Cadwell said Potato Festival organizers, as always, have rolled out the red carpet for his crews. He praised the job organizers do putting together such a complex festival every year.
Although there’s no significant sign of rain in the weekend forecast, Cadwell says a shower here or there won’t put a damper on Deggeler’s operations. One advantage the company has in Elizabeth City is that all its rides sit on pavement.
“So if we get a…