Festive Ferris Wheel: Santa Monica Sparkle

The pier's turning wonder pays tribute to the season in a sparkly fashion.

Stroll the beach long enough and you may come across a figure made of sand.

This figure may have two or three large-sized sand balls standing in for its body, and a seashell for a nose, and some tangled kelp for hair, but what the figure won't contain, in any fashion, is snow.

That doesn't mean, though, that snowmen can't call upon the beach; they just have to do so, at least around Santa Monica, via a cavalcade of colorful blinking LED lights.

Make that 174,000 LED lights, the very powerful blinkers that give the Pacific Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier its iconic incandescence. As is tradition nowadays, and definitely since the wheel's major tech update in the spring of 2016, the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel is paying dazzling tribute to the holidays.

How, you might ask? Through whirring displays of hue and pattern, patterns that feature red, white, and green in prominent, eye-catching ways.

But the snowpeople and other signs of the yuletide flashing on the side of the great spinning circle aren't the area's only seasonal sweets: There are actual edible sweets at Lappert's Ice Cream on the pier, including Cookie for Santa, a cold treat available through New Year's.

Could you get some Cookie for Santa on a cone and station yourself somewhere near the Pacific Wheel to admire the joyful blink-a-tude and zig-zaggery all of those thousands upon thousands of lights are delivering?


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Maybe the designs will even inspire the next thing you build out of sand on the beach below.

True story: We can't make snow angels on shore here in Southern California, nor people made of snow, but we do have a rocking solar-powered Ferris wheel that can recreate, in magical LED sparkle, the symbols of the season.

Look for the Christmassy colors to be twirling on the wheel through Monday, Jan. 2.

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