Seattle’s Great Wheel: What’s With the Blinking Lights?

Image of the Seattle great wheel and a location graph

If you look at the Seattle Great Wheel on Sunday evening, May 21, you'll notice an unusual light pattern. The wheel is often lit up in different colors, but the maroon and white pattern on Sunday (to celebrate SPU's 125 anniversary) has a hidden meaning. The seemingly random pattern of white lights are actually spelling out "S P U 1 2 5" in Morse code.

When: Sunday, May 21, 2017, 6–10 p.m. (The Wheel closes at 10 p.m.!)

Where: Seattle’s Great Wheel, located on Pier 57 (1301 Alaskan Way) on the Seattle waterfront.

Why: It’s our 125th anniversary year!

Seattle's Great Wheel Displaying SPU

The Light Show Design: This original design, depicted in SPU’s school colors of maroon and white, was created by Sam Davis, SPU senior design manager and alumna. It’s based on Morse code, an alphabet in which letters and numbers are represented by combinations of long and short signals of light or sound. The series of short and long white lights spell out “SPU 125." The shorter series of white lights represent dots, and the longer series of white lights represent dashes.

A special thank you to Great Wheel lighting programmer Gerry Hall!

Talon and the Seattle Great Wheel

Contest for SPU Students

If you’re a current student, or will be starting at SPU this fall, we want to see your photos of the lights! Share your photo or video on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #spu125greatwheel. The top five winning entries will receive Google Cardboard VR headsets.