The Texas Star has been an important fixture on the Dallas skyline since it was built in 1985. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this iconic Ferris wheel bears that out. The largest in the state, it is 212 feet tall at its highest point. The amusement ride, which is the most popular ride at the Texas State Fair, made its first appearance at the 1985 fair and has run every year since.
The View on a Clear Day
Riders say they are seduced by the wheel's extreme height and the panoramic views in every direction. It's the same view they would have at the top of a 20-story building. The imposing disk of the Texas Star Ferris wheel, with its enormous star etched in bright blue lights, is said to be the 25th tallest in the history of Ferris wheels. It can be seen from miles away on Interstate 30. On a clear day, riders sitting at the top can see the Fort Worth skyline almost 40 miles away.
Worth the Wait
The Texas Star may be popular, but don’t be discouraged if you see a long line. Because the ride only lasts about 12 minutes, the line moves fairly quickly. But you might avoid the line entirely if you go early. If you're nervous to go so high, especially when it's your first time, don't be. Riders say that being up there is "awesome" and "an incredible feeling" and that the view is "unbeatable." They advise wannabe riders to bring a smartphone for selfies in the sky.
In 2008, the wheel’s inefficient incandescent lighting system was replaced with a longer-lasting, more energy-efficient LED system that lights up the night sky in red, white and blue during the State Fair. The new system replaces a mammoth system of 16,000 incandescent turbolites. A bright idea, to be sure.
About the Texas Star
The $2.2 million ride was built by SDC Corp. of Reggio Emilia, Italy. It was then shipped to Dallas for the Texas State Fair of 1985, where it debuted.
Up to 18 employees are required to operate and manage the big ride, which has 44 bright red gondolas that make 1.5 revolutions every minute. With up to six people sitting in each gondola, some 264 passengers can ride at the same time.
From 1985, the Texas Star was the tallest Ferris wheel in North America, until it was eclipsed on July 22, 2013, by the 250-foot-tall Star of Puebla in Mexico. It is now apparently the tallest in Texas.
The Texas Star Ferris wheel is located at the far southern end of the Midway at the Texas State Fair.
More information, including prices, is available from Friends of Fair Park or the State Fair of Texas.