Brittany Brown and Logan Heilman decided just a week ago to make their four-year relationship legal. That’s when they heard couples could wed Friday on the Sonoma County Fair’s largest Ferris wheel.
The two, who live in Santa Rosa and met on a dating website, had been talking about marriage for quite a while, they said, but the opportunity to have a ceremony at the fair seemed too good to pass up.
“It’s something we’ve been putting off for a long time, and we heard about it and decided, ‘Why not?’ ” Heilman said.
With just a week’s notice, 42-year-old Heilman got Brown a ring, Brown got herself a dress and together they planned a reception.
“It was just ready, set, go and here we are,” Brown, 32, said in the shadow of the 100-foot Ferris wheel.
In all, 28 couples dressed in varying degrees of finery, boarded the Ferris wheel just after 3 p.m. to take their wedding vows — six couples for the first time, the other 22 couples to give their original vows a refresher.
The multitudinous Ferris wheel ceremony is a first for the Sonoma County Fair, the event tied into its “Holidaze” theme, which packs a year’s worth of holidays into the fair’s 11-day run. The weddings were meant to celebrate “Valentine’s Day,” with other holidays represented throughout the fair by activities like the “Great Irish Potato Toss” and a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” contest.
Pair by pair they boarded the gondolas, and pair by pair said their I dos and sealed them with a kiss.
At ground level, state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, conducted the ceremony, broadcast to the brides and grooms above through a small PA system.
“A wedding day is a milestone in anyone’s life, and this is going to be — forever more this is going to be in the memories of all of these couples,” McGuire said.
Following the ceremony, newlyweds and vow-renewers alike made their way to the fair’s Blues and Brews Lounge, where a champagne toast and funnel cake awaited.
Jane Nance, 92, was there to see her son, Mark Currier, marry Sue Russell, his girlfriend of 32 years.
She had originally intended to renew her own vows with her husband of 20 years, Norman Nance, 77, but the event was booked full, she said.
“I think it’s cool,” she said. “I think it’s a fantastic idea. Old and young alike.”
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeaWarren.