Arts & Entertainment, Lakeshore, and Travel & Tourism

Ferris wheel meets windmill at new attraction

August 14, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Windmill ferris
Harry's Windmill Ride opened at Neil's Dutch Village in August. Photo via fb.com

An amusement park attraction paired with a traditional Dutch power source opens Friday on the lakeshore.

Harry’s Windmill Ride at Nelis’ Dutch Village opens at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Holland and is part of a reception celebrating Harry Nelis Jr.’s 80th birthday.

The ride is four stories tall — 45 feet — and features 12, two- to three-person chairs on the fins of an authentic Dutch windmill. The ride is a combination of a 1940 Eli Bridge #5 Ferris wheel and a reproduction “de Grosmolen” windmill built in 1640 in Hoogmade, Netherlands, according to current owner Joe Nelis.

Joe Nelis found the Ferris wheel in a 2009 auction of Chicago’s Kiddieland. He didn’t end up acquiring the ride until 2013, however. The attraction originally went to a private bidder who believed he would set it up in his backyard. Instead, it sat in storage until the Chicago Tribune ran a story detailing the whereabouts of all the Kiddieland attractions, except the Ferris wheel. Included was Dutch Village’s  new Petal Pumper Cars, and the story off the unsuccessful bidding on the Ferris wheel. Joe Nelis’ comments made it into the article, and communication between the two parties began. Nelis’ Dutch Village picked up the Ferris wheel in September 2013.

“Harry’s Windmill Ride has been a fantastic addition to the park, and wouldn’t have been possible without the talented staff of Nelis’ Dutch Village, help from Mike Bocks and the Holland Town Center, and the hard work of many local vendors and suppliers,” Nelis said.

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