For a bird's-eye view
The 200-foot-tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is a new attraction that opened this summer in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The Smokies wheel is touted for aerial views of the Smoky Mountains from all-glass gondolas that seat up to eight guests. I prefer to do my viewing of the Smokies from ground level, up close and personal, where I can see, touch, hear, smell and even taste the real Smokies.
Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
But I did enjoy our drive-by visit to the giant ferris wheel on our way home from a 10-day road trip. My interest was piqued by the wheel’s similarity to the iconic London Eye on the Thames River in that city. The London Eye is 443 feet, more than twice as tall as the Pigeon Forge wheel.
An even smaller wheel crafted from fall vegetation and mountain materials is a mini-version of Pigeon Forge's big wheel. The close up below is cropped from the previous photo.
Cornstalk ferris wheel?
One of the online sites I checked pointed out that the term “ferris wheel” no longer applies to these more technologically advanced, modern “observation wheels.” I grew up loving ferris wheels, roller coasters and all those centrifugal rides that could practically sling your eyeballs out.
Somehow, "observation wheel" sounds more like a school assignment than the carnival fun of riding on the ferris wheel at the annual county fair. Swinging high above the crowds, I savored midway aromas: popcorn, corn dogs, candied apples and cotton candy.
Swept away were the last of the not-unpleasant scents from our visit to the livestock exhibits: the sunshiny smell of hay and the earthy scent of meticulously groomed prize-winning pigs and cows.
The 93rd edition of our county’s fair opened its week-long run yesterday. We haven’t been in decades. The food on the midway isn’t the draw for me. But all those off-midway fund-raising booths selling seafood gumbo, barbecue, fried fish dinners and pies absolutely call to me.
There is even pecan pie on a stick this year. Fairgoers can nibble the sweet treat, crust and all, as they stroll the midway.
The food is prepared by locals who are passionate about their non-profit cause and passionate about their cooking. It’s a winning combination that has folks lining up for tried and true dishes from their favorite cooks and organizations or to sample a new group’s fare.
Maybe its time to talk to Hubby about a trip to the fair this week!
*Hat tip for post title to John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” lyrics