EF Ferris Wheel Takes Cambridge to New Heights

While most companies would probably celebrate the completion of a new office building with a celebratory luncheon and a corporate Facebook update, a local Boston company took a much more fun and community-driven approach.

EF Education First, a company that offers academic classes and travel programs throughout the world, christened their new Cambridge headquarters by erecting a 120-foot Ferris wheel in North Point Park, adjacent to the 10-story building. From the top of the wheel, Bostonians could see spectacular views of the famous Zakim Bridge, the Museum of Science, and Duck Boat tours heading east on the Charles River.

The best part? The ride was totally free to the public.

Photo by Kara Korab.
The Education First Ferris Wheel gave riders a sneak peek of the views from their newest building–120 feet in the air | Photo by Kara Korab

“We want to do something fun for the community and bring people together in this area,”  Martha Doyle, Chief Administration Officer for the company, told the Boston Globe. “We have the most incredible views from our new building.”

The two-day event occurred on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. In addition to the Ferris wheel–which is the second-largest portable Ferris wheel in the entire country–the event featured upbeat music, balloon animals, and local food trucks like Baja Taco, Paris Creperie, Penny Packers, and Cool Cow Ice Cream. Fresh squeezed lemonade was also a welcome treat during the two warm, almost-autumn days.

Bridget Burgoyne, a three-week-old EF employee and a Boston University alumna, said that the Ferris wheel was a great way to boost morale at her new office and interact with the community.

“It’s been a great way to kick off an amazing start with EF,” she said in an email. “From my experience, the Ferris wheel is an example of how much the company seems to care about its employees and the community. It’s been a busy month for [my] team, and a Ferris wheel outside and delicious food trucks parked at our building is a refreshing break in the day.”

Families with young children seemed to dominate the daytime scene, perhaps due to the proximity of the North Point Park playground.

“We had just planned on going to the park over there this morning, but then we saw the Ferris wheel,” Boston local Sara O’Brian said, motioning to her 5-year-old nephew wearing a bright pink “I saw Boston from the sky” sticker. “It was such a nice surprise, and a really fun way to spend the afternoon.”

Photo by Kara Korab.
Education First volunteers smile while handing out stickers saying “I saw Boston from the sky” | Photo by Kara Korab

The wheel stayed open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday. The nighttime crowd was not without its fair share of families, but college students and twenty-somethings were much more present after-hours, Burgoyne said.

Social media played an important role in driving people to the event, and the hashtag #EFHelloWorld tracked a lot of buzz in the greater Boston area. Local online celebrity @BostonTweet  spread the word about the event, the View Boston from the Sky Facebook event had over 3,000 guests, and Reddit’s Beantown-specific community page, r/Boston, even gave the wheel a shout-out. EF Hello World’s Twitter account also documented the fact that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick took the time to take a spin on the wheel on Thursday.

Grace Rasmus

Grace Rasmus

Grace Rasmus (COM '15) is a journalism major from New York who strives to act like a combination of Liz Lemon, April Ludgate, and Mike Ehrmantraut. In between coffee breaks and Netflix binges, she likes to write about politics, pop culture, technology, scientific studies, women's issues, and The Bean.

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