The Lights of Seattle’s Great Wheel

Seattle's Great Wheel, candy canes during holidays

Seattle’s Great Wheel, candy canes during holidays

Seattle’s Great Wheel greets residents and visitors every night in a dazzling salute. There are 500,000 LED lights embellishing this ferris wheel, adorning the skyline for miles.

 

Perched on the shoreline at Pier 57, it stands 175 feet (53.3 m) high, and extends 40 feet (12.2 m) over the waters of Elliott Bay.

 

The Seattle Great Wheel

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The ferris wheel is open for riding year round and in all weather, click here.

 

There is one man who lights up the Wheel:  Gerry Hall. He is in charge of the lights, including repairing broken ones (they repel down the ferris wheel).

 

While his job title is General Manager, and light displays were not originally under the job description, he took an interest in the lights and started programming designs as a hobby. He creates the mesmerizing light design from his laptop in his living room.

 

Seattle and the Puget Sound

Seattle and the Puget Sound

The displays have become more sophisticated and elaborate over the four years since the Wheel was constructed, with flashing, swirling, and even messages. There are holiday themes, like the candy canes pictured here, and other Seattle-based themes.

 

Home football light shows are a big hit, including a recent time-lapsed spelling of S-e-a-h-a-w-k-s, proud Seattle’s National Football League team. Just last week I was watching a Seahawks game when they showed the Great Wheel radiating blue and green (team colors) with a flashing football spinning in the center.

 

More images here.

 

He receives requests of all kinds, and in a recent interview said that “gender reveals” are a current favorite. Couples expecting a baby who do not know the gender yet, stand in view of the Wheel. Their doctor or friend find out the gender, call it in to Mr. Hall, and pink or blue flashes up for the expecting couple.

Image result for seattle great wheel ferris wheel images

Photo: Geoff Vlcek, Courtesy My Modern Met

I once arrived in Seattle by boat at night, having come from Victoria. Glowing purple lights adorned the entire Wheel, bejeweling the waters below.

 

It was a passionate greeting saying, “Welcome to this spirited city.”

 

Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.

 

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Sparkling Seattle

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

I like going to Seattle because I feel like I’m going to the future.  Here for the recent holiday, I was whisked around in my friend’s car and treated to many sights of this bustling city.  Even though I’ve been here many times, there is always so much more to see. 

 

Of course their iconic symbol, the Space Needle, has a lot to do with the futuristic feel of Seattle.  Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it was built for the theme of space, science, and the future.  When you stand beside this spaceship-like structure pointing to the sky, it feels like it’s going to blast off and take you with it.  At this time of year it is topped with a brightly-lit Christmas tree. 

 

Seattle's Puget Sound Waterfront

Seattle’s Puget Sound Waterfront

There’s something, too, about all the water here that makes it a fresh place.  Could it be their notorious rain?  Built on the Puget Sound, Seattle is surrounded by inlets, islands, lakes, channels, canals, and waterways wherever you go.  The extensive network of bridges includes floating, suspension and drawbridges, some that have been recently built and some that are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Ferries are a common part of the Seattle scene, for commuters, locals and tourists; and all along the waterfront are dozens and dozens of ships and working docks in this busy seaport.    

Seattle canal

Seattle canal

Strolling through the Fremont neighborhood we came across a quiet canal with houseboats and businesses as well as mallards and kayakers.  We stopped after lunch at the Theo Chocolate Factory and enjoyed yummy samples of free chocolate.  Along a paved path, the sound of several seaplanes accompanied us as we bid soft greetings to number-fronted runners returning from a race.

It is always the case when I visit this city that I gaze in awe at the mountains.  My favorite vista in all of this region is the majestic sight of Mount Rainier.  I’ve hiked and explored it and have many happy memories of it, admire it from the airplane, and stop in my tracks when the weather is clear to see it standing high and mighty.  The Olympic Mountains and the Cascade Range are also a constant and grounding presence to this area.

My favorite Seattle experience this time was at the Seattle Center, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.  It is an entire museum, just opened in 2012, dedicated to the exquisite art of Dale Chihuly.  It was such an incredible exhibit that I’m going to spend the rest of this week sharing photos with you.  This exhibit, too, has a feel for the future.  It is art with vibrancy and color, sacredness without religion, and expression in a medium that is not frequently used:  glass.

Chihuly Museum with Space Needle

Chihuly Museum with Space Needle

 

At the most northerly and western boundaries of this country, sparkling Seattle embraces the American northwest while looking upward, always, to the stars. 

Saturn in Seattle

Saturn in Seattle