COLUMBIA — Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival visitors will have the chance to see this weekend's festivities from a new vantage point: 50 feet off the ground.
A Ferris wheel will run throughout the festival, with ride costing $4. A high striker, or strongman, game will sit next to the Ferris wheel. This is the classic carnival game where a player tries to ring a bell after a hammer strike.
This year marks the first time the festival will take place in Stephens Lake Park, Blue Note owner Richard King said, and the Ferris wheel will add the "wow factor" to the new venue.
"We wanted to transform the park into something that is special for the festival-goers, and this is one more piece of the festival we think will add to the experience," King said.
The "RC1," which arrives in Columbia on Thursday, can hold 36 riders. It is 50-feet tall with 12 three-person seats. The Ferris wheel will be placed in the northeast corner of the park.
Ferris wheels are a popular addition to many kinds of community events and festivals.
"They turn adults into kids for the day," said Vanessa Frank, contract and logistics manager for Round Concepts, the company providing the Ferris wheel. "It is not some crazy roller coaster you’d be intimidated by. You can enjoy the ride."
The Ferris wheel, which first appeared at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, is also a symbol of nostalgia for many.
"A lot of people relate to it," Frank said. "It is a very classic ride with that classic look to it."
The Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival begins Friday at 5:45 p.m. and ends Sunday evening.