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New Ferris wheel debuts tonight on the Santa Monica Pier

May 28, 2008 |  5:15 pm

The_new_wheel_reveal_3 Tonight's the night -- the big debut of the new Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, with speeches, dignitaries, fireworks and all 160,000 lights twinkling and twirling in all their laser-bright, programmed glory.

Also free rides, free snacks and a $65,000 donation raised for the Special Olympics by the EBay sale of the old wheel.

Stats from the press release:

The all-new $1.5-million Ferris wheel was manufactured by Chance Morgan Inc. in Wichita, Kan., and stands 130 feet above the Pacific Ocean, features 20 gondolas with a maximum six riders per car, accommodating up to 600 riders per hour.

Festivities start at 8:45 p.m. More info is at the pier's web site. And look - a web cam!

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times