published Friday, June 21st, 2013

Giant Smoky Mountain ferris wheel opens in Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is pictured on June 20, 2013.
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is pictured on June 20, 2013.
Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast.

PIGEON FORGE — The band was playing cover tunes, the employees were wearing festive flannel shirts and, most important, the giant wheel was turning.

On a hot and sunny morning, a flop of an attraction was transformed on Thursday into a symbol of economic renewal in a tourism hot spot.

Developers Darby Campbell and Bob McManus hosted a ribbon-cutting for The Island in Pigeon Forge, a collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues whose centerpiece is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot tall ride featuring 42 gondola-style cars.

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