The Fair's Giant Wheel gives a view that stretches beyond the Fairgrounds

The State Fair Midway has two giant wheels to ride. Actually one is giant, 126-feet tall. The second is the junior version in Kiddeland.

The Giant Wheel is here, because of a unique feature of the NY State Fair ride providers: The James E. Strates Shows is the only carnival company that still travels by train. "Having the train affords us the opportunity to move some of the large spectacular rides that you won't see anywhere else," says Strates Shows General Manager George Weston. And, while it was a quaint trademark a few years ago, now, with the cost of fuel for trucks, it gives the Strates Shows a dollars-and-cents advantage, too.

The TopSpin is another big ride that rides the rails. It's been a top draw on the Midway for years. But, it appeals to a narrower age group, mostly young people looking for a thrill.

Weston says the Midway is roughly divided up to appeal to different age groups in different areas:

the youngsters in Kiddieland, the in betweeners, and the oldsters.

The Giant Wheel appeals to all ages, for a simple reason: "The view. It's the one place you can see almost everything all over the county." And now both wheels put on their own shows, too, at night. Both are fitted with LED lights, and put on a display that's worth the walk to the Midway.

And the Midway is braced for a busy weekend."The people that haven't been who've been holding off, are coming this weekend."

We gave the Strates Shows our Blue Ribbon award for the Wheels, but they say the Fair deserves the compliments: "One of the top 5 fairs in the world," says Weston, "and I believe it's the best on the planet. It's hard to duplicate what's here."