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Ferris wheel is big draw at Empire State Fair at Nassau Coliseum

The Ferris wheel at the Empire State Fair

The Ferris wheel at the Empire State Fair at the Nassau Coliseum is one of the largest European Ferris wheels in the United States. It is shown on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Credit: Johnny Milano

A fair usually has cotton candy, funnel cakes and a Ferris wheel, but the amusement ride at the Empire State Fair in Uniondale is special: It’s from Holland and is among the largest European Ferris wheels in the United States.

The Ferris wheel stands 126 feet tall, can seat 144 people and is 30 years old, according to George Weston, general manager for Strates Shows, the company hosting the fair yesterday in the Nassau Coliseum parking lot.

Stephanie Bailyn, 32, and Russell Bailyn, 35, of Roslyn, who were there with friends and daughter Grayson, 4, said that from the top they could see Eisenhower Park.

“We came for the kids,” said Stephanie Bailyn, adding they also came for her husband.

“I came to this fair with my dad when I was little, so this is our first time back here with our own kids and we’re very excited,” Russell Bailyn said. “There’s something classic and romantic about riding a Ferris wheel.”

“It’s sort of intriguing to ride the Ferris wheel after learning about it,” said Russell Bailyn, who researched the attraction before coming to the fair. “And the other Ferris wheel here on Long Island at Adventureland is not as tall, so we thought it would be a really cool experience.”

Jasmine Quinones of Wantagh rode the Ferris wheel with son Gerry, 4, and said it was “nice, breezy, quiet and calm.”

“We drove by and the first thing he said was, ‘I want to go on the Ferris wheel,’ ” Quinones said. When the shy and adorable Gerry was asked if he enjoyed the Ferris wheel, he got to the point and simply said, “Yes.”

The Ferris wheel proved to be a universally popular with fairgoers.

Stephen Thompson, 34, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, said he came to Long Island for an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout, at which he will be a corner instructor for his brother-in-law, UFC fighter Chris Weidman. While here, he decided to take his family to the fair.

“I haven’t been on a Ferris wheel in years and I don’t remember it going that fast,” Thompson said. “It’s not a fair if you don’t have a Ferris wheel.”

The Empire State Fair runs daily through July 30.

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