Local Company's Ferris Wheels Featured in the Movies

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter


By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A local company is gaining a little fame for something you might not expect: Its Ferris wheels.

Round Concepts has acquired eight Ferris wheels that it rents out. One of its wheels is ready for riders after crews set it up in downtown Cedar Rapids for Freedom Fest.

"They are unpacking the wheel so that it can be unfolded and then once it's unfolded then they start inserting the spokes and that becomes round and then put the seats on and you are done,” said Round Concepts Owner Marvin Smejkal.

Marvin Smejkal started his business back in 2000. That’s when he said Freedom Festival workers requested one.

Well, now you could say -- they're on a roll.

"We go all over the lower 48, we've had wheels sent out to New York state, Maine, Texas, Florida, we’ve even gone out west a few times,” said Round Concepts Project Manager Scott Wiley.

Round Concepts has acquired eight antique-looking Ferris wheels. They're even rolling their way into some pretty big movies. Here you see one of their Ferris wheels on the movie set of Transformers 3. One was also used in a new movie.

"There's Lone Ranger -- that's coming out today that we, they filmed it 18 months ago,” Smejkal said.

"We're thinking it's a little bit more featured but like I said we haven't seen it yet,” Wiley said.

The set-up crew from here in Cedar Rapids travels with each wheel for the movie setups. While they're busy right now with Freedom Festival, they already have their sights set on their next project.

"Around Christmas time, you might look at the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies and see what you think,” Smejkal said.

One of the workers here even took part in Lone Ranger. Something to note: the ferris wheel in downtown Cedar Rapids wasn't the one in the movies, but it’s still a fun time.

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