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Pacific Park Wheel in Santa Monica Goes Dark
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Lookout Staff

May 6, 2016 -- Eight years ago, Pacific Park ushered in a new era on the Santa Monica Pier when it unveiled its iconic Ferris Wheel with a festive fireworks bash.

On Thursday, the big wheel -- which towers 130 feet above the Pacific -- went mostly dark to prepare for the unveiling of a new $1 million lighting package on May 26 that will feature higher resolution, greater color depth and a faster display speed, park officials said ("Pacific Park Ferris Wheel to Get New Lights," March 31, 2016).

The solar-powered wheel will remain open for rides, which cost $8, while lighting specialists and operations personnel prepare for the removal and installation of the custom 174,000 LED lights, officials said.

“We look forward to sharing the Ferris wheel’s new lighting package over the next 20 years with the millions of visitors annually to the Pier,” said Jeff Klocke, Pacific Park's vice president.

The new lighting package is part of the 20th Birthday celebration of the park, which opened on May 26, 1996. Beginning Friday, Pacific Park each evening will illuminate one of the Ferris wheel’s 20 gondolas with the respective year to spotlight a Park milestone.

On Wednesday, May 25 all 20 gondolas will be illuminated, setting the stage for the unveiling of the wheel’s new lighting package the following day.

One major milestone was the replacement in May 2008 of the 12-year-old Ferris wheel, which provided more than 3 million rides and appeared in more than 105 photo shoots, 71 television commercials, 69 television shows, 28 feature films and 13 music videos ("Big Whel Starts Turning," May 30, 2008)

Last month, the old wheel was installed at the site of a new riverfront development in Oklahoma City, where it will serve as a towering landmark some 1,300 miles from its original home. The wheel was bought on eBay for $132,400 in 2008 by a real estate developer in the Sooner state.

The new lighting system on Pacific Park's eight-year-old wheel will be installed by Eworks, which installed the existing 5,392 incandescent bulbs in 2008.

The latest control technology boosts the old system's eight color combinations to 16.7 million color value combinations, and the the illumination on each of the 40 spokes of the wheel will have 1,960 more pixels more than the old system, said Lars Koch, vice president at Eworks Pro.

In January, Pacific Park began its 20th Birthday celebration by unveiling a new logo, vision statement and brand, among other marketing activities, park officials said.

Pacific Park attracts more than 8 million visitors a year to the Santa Monica Pier, officials said. The park offers 12 amusement rides, 14 midway games, an oceanfront food plaza and beachside retail shops.

For additional information and hours of operation, call 310-260-8744 or visit

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