President Donald Trump is bringing a Ferris wheel back to the White House.
The carnival attraction will be among the featured offerings at the administration’s second congressional picnic on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday evening, where the president and first lady Melania Trump will entertain members of Congress and their families.
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The summer solstice-themed extravaganza is an “opportunity for elected officials to put aside differences and come together as a community,” the first lady said in a statement Thursday. Visitors also will be treated to a popcorn cart, face painting, lawn games, a baked pretzel stand and a cotton candy station.
The Ferris wheel was shipped from South Carolina to the White House, where it will sit by the fountain on the east side of the South Lawn, a spokeswoman for the first lady wrote in an email. Participants can take rides during the event, though the White House declined to comment on the wheel’s size.
This won’t be the first Ferris wheel at the White House. The Johnson administration, for instance, featured one alongside pony rides, a carousel and other county fair-style activities. The Clinton administration turned congressional and press picnics into “old-fashioned carnivals,” including a Ferris wheel at least once.
The White House said it plans to serve up “traditional picnic fare.” That may include charcoal-grilled rib eye steaks that were prepared days ago, according to a pool reporter who spotted about “a half dozen chefs” on Tuesday grilling “heaps of steak” forthe event. It’s unclear whether those will be on guests’ plates, but the White House said other items include charred lemon chicken, grilled plank salmon and Baja shrimp tacos.
The picnic is an annual gathering used by presidents in recent years to mingle with lawmakers and sometimes discuss legislative issues.
Trumpcanceled the picniclast year, saying it didn’t feel “right” while his administration dealt with the backlash from its practice of separating migrant families crossing at the border. Trump’s first party was New York-themed, promoting the president’s home state, and included model sailboats resembling those in Central Park floating in the South Lawn fountain, plus a giant carousel.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence are set to attend, and the United States Marine Band and the United States Navy Band Cruisers will perform, according to the statement. Ahead of the event, the second lady hosted Senate spouses at the Pence residence, she wrotein a tweetThursday.