The Sky Wheel will be returning to the Strates Shows midway at the Erie County Fair for the first time since 1998. The ride first debuted on the Erie County Fair midway in 1963 and featured until 1994. During a short stint from 1996-1998, Strates brought the wheel back before it was taken off the road. The Sky Wheel will return to the ECF midway as part of a celebration commemorating the 95th year of Strates Shows providing the midway at the fair. Strates' 95 year run with the fair is considered the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States.
The Sky Wheel at the fair is not the original owned by Strates Shows during the 60s, however, it is a slightly newer model that is rumored to be the last one manufactured by Chance Rides. The Sky Wheel, now owned by Robbie Megerle has been fully restored for its appearance at the fair.
The Sky Wheel has deep roots in the greater Buffalo (New York) area. In 1960, The Allan Herschell Company of Buffalo purchased the manufacturing rights and patents to the Sky Wheel from brothers Curtis and Elmer Velare of Long Beach, California. From 1960 until the sale of the Herschell Company's assets in 1970 to Chance Manufacturing of Wichita, Kansas, Sky Wheels were built at the Herschell plant located at 1165 Clinton Street in East Buffalo. At the time of the sale to Chance, the Allan Herschell Company was the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in North America.
The restored Sky Wheel can be seen at the Erie County Fair August 7-18, 2019.