MADISON — Eileen Wessel hadn’t been on a Ferris wheel in, oh, decades. Many of them.
But that changed Sunday at the Madison County Fair here.
The 89-year-old resident of Countryside Home in Madison received an early 90th birthday — her birthday is July 26 — when her son-in-law, Al Pfeifer of Madison, arranged for her to have a Ferris wheel ride.
“She told me, ‘I would really like to ride a Ferris wheel one more time,’ ” said Janet Pfeifer, who is Wessel’s daughter. “And they just made it happen.”
She estimated her mother hadn’t been on the ride since Janet was in high school.
The ride took place at 11 a.m. Sunday before the carnival officially opened and the fairgrounds were busy.
Wessel and her family members took two rides, and Wessel got the opportunity to look at the world from both sides of car number one.
Janet Pfeifer said her mother requested the ride last year, but the family never got it to work because of heat and noisy fairgrounds.
But this year they had help.
Al Pfeifer is a former member of the Madison County Fair board and he reached out to current members to see if they could arrange the ride.
“Everybody got on board with it right away,” Al Pfeifer said.
After the fair board members agreed, they worked with the carnival to arrange the ride at 11 in the morning before the day got too hot or the fairgrounds too crowded.
Al Pfeifer said the special ride wouldn’t have happened without James Heller, the vice president of the fair board, and Luke Beyermann, another fair board member and a family friend.
When the ride was over and Wessel had been helped out of the Ferris wheel car, down the ramp and into a waiting van, the family gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” and see her back to Countryside Home.
Her daughter said there would be more celebration on Wessel’s birthday, but they were going…