How to build a Ferris wheel - Carnival wraps up its season in Silverdale

Delbeck, Baker and Emry fit the last piece of the frame together for the wheel.  - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
Delbeck, Baker and Emry fit the last piece of the frame together for the wheel.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

It’s not all cotton candy and holding hands atop the Ferris wheel with a cute girl.

There’s a lot of prep work that goes into setting up the carnival that makes its home in the Kitsap Mall north parking lot in Silverdale.

“We don’t get rich doing this,” said Pat Smith, owner of Cascades Amusements, Inc. “It’s all about the kids.”

Since February, the company has been traveling from town to town in Washington bringing carnival rides and attractions. This is their final event this year.

As a child, Smith said he never went to carnivals. He has owned the Portland-based company for about 25 years. It’s been in his father-in-law’s family for 100 years.

“I kind of fell into it,” said Smith.

The “fair season” runs from July to August. Smith’s fair brings with it up to 20 rides. Right now they have nine rides available since the season is coming to an end. Tickets are $2 per ride or $20 for 15 rides.

The carnival kicked off Thursday and ends Sunday.

Unable to put a dollar amount to the cost of setting up and operating the carnival, Smith left it as “expensive.” Everything from the diesel for the generators to insurance, permits, travel expenses and paying his crew adds up, he said.

The first ride the crew assembled was the Ferris wheel, which takes about three hours.

“The Ferris wheel is the most popular,” said Morgan Ross, a crew member that’s been working with the company for 12 years. “Grandparents, mothers, kids — everyone rides it.”

With the season nearly finished, Ross is excited to relax and pick up his model car hobby.

“It’s hard work,” said Smith as he showed the calluses on his hands. “It’s about seeing people smile and have fun.”

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