The Most Surprising Roadside Attraction
Driving along Wisconsin State Highway 21, in search of a grocery store for camping supplies, my husband and I came upon a giant eyeball on the side of the road, with a sign next to it that says, "Welcome to Sparta, Wisconsin." Of course, I HAD to pull over!
It's not every day that you come across a 30 foot, fiberglass eyeball on the side of the road, practically in the middle of nowhere! A true Wisconsite, born and raised, I expect to see things like taverns, cheese factories, and breweries...but never a giant eyeball...just when I thought I'd seen it all...I was again surprised by my beloved Dairy State.
Read on to see more photos of this great roadside attraction, with a few more surprises in store!
Unless Otherwise Noted, the Photos Below Were Taken By Me and Belong To Me; Please Ask Permission Before Using.
If You Came Upon a Large Eyeball on the Side of the Road...Would You Stop?
So WHY Is There a Huge Eyeball on the Side of the Road?! - I Watched This Video to Satisfy My Curiosity
After seeing this rather unexpected roadside attraction, I said to my husband, "There's gotta be SOME reason this thing is here...it has to mean something...right?" Well, curiosity got the best of me and I searched the internet for my answer...and I found it! This video actually answered all of my questions...and also gave me a lot more respect for the abnormally large eyeball on the side of the road.
Fun Facts About Sparta's "Eye"
- Tony Tasset is the artist who came up with the idea and artistry of "Eye," which is actually a replica of his own eyeball
- Tasset commissioned the F.A.S.T. Corporation in Sparta, WI to build "Eye" out of fiberglass, which needless to say, is their specialty
- The giant eyeball was displayed between July 7th and October 31st, in 2010, at Pritzker Park in Chicago
- This "glaring" piece of artwork is roughly 30 feet high, 30 feet around, and weighs 14,000 lbs
- After "Eye" debuted in Chicago, it was moved to Sparta, WI, back at the F.A.S.T. Corporation, where it sits beside Hwy 21, waiting for a new home
- F.A.S.T. Corporation = Fiberglass Animals, Shapes & Trademarks Corporation
...And There's More!
One would think the fun ends with the large eyeball at the roadside...but there's more!
The F.A.S.T. Corporation specializes in building these large fiberglass characters, animals, and statues. Many are displayed outside by the side of the road. I would guess this is partially for the public's enjoyment and I would suppose this is also a great idea for some free advertising as well!
As you can see in the picture, behind the roadside figures, there are even more behind them! Unfortunately, my husband and I didn't know we could go back and explore, but I read a blog of a woman who did, with plenty of fun pictures. Visit Domestiphobia to share in her adventure!
According to her pictures and descriptions, further back on the F.A.S.T. Corporation's property, there are old, unused figures and statues and also, what can only be described as a Statue Mold Graveyard! The company keeps their old molds from past projects, because I guess one never knows when there might be more demand for a 12 foot mouse. (In Wisconsin, this is actually very likely...we sometimes like to put large mice in front of our cheese factories.)
More Fun Info and Photos of "Eye" and the F.A.S.T. Corporation
- Roadside America: Sparta, WI - 30-Foot-Tall Eyeball
Visit reports, news, maps, directions and info on 30-Foot-Tall Eyeball in Sparta, WI.
- Blog - World's Weirdest Roadtrip
Follow Road Trippers across Southwest Wisconsin as they make their way toward Fort McCoy. They make a stop in Sparta, WI and had some fun with the local attractions.
- Gonzo tourism - Aberdeen American News
An article written by travelers and their experience visiting Sparta's F.A.S.T. Corporation.
Where IS Sparta, WI?
The small Wisconsin town of Sparta boasts a population of about 9,602 people and is located in the Southwest part of the state, near LaCrosse.
The Sparta area definitely is not lacking in neat things to see and fun activities for all ages to enjoy!
Sparta is known as the Bicycling Capital of America, as it has the first rail bed in Wisconsin to have been converted to a bike trail, which goes between Elroy and Sparta. The bike trail is 32 miles long and goes through 3 old railroad tunnels.
This area of Wisconsin has wonderful fishing and hunting opportunities and definitely no shortage of wildlife! There also are many campgrounds in the area.
I personally have visited the PIne View Campground near Fort McCoy (about 10 miles out of Sparta) for two years in a row now. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and the fishing was great! We always catch a lot of trout, whenever we visit.
I LOVE Your Feedback!
Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on October 06, 2013:
Wish I had a Eye Ball for my Crazy Roadside Attractions Lens.
Thanks and Cheers from DOWNUNDER
anonymous on August 12, 2013:
The place become remarkable because of these gigantic eyeball.
mina009 on August 11, 2013:
EpicEra on August 11, 2013:
What a neat city idol :)
SamanthaHaupt on August 10, 2013:
What a weird, but interesting, thing! Nice lens!
Jen withFlash on August 05, 2013:
I can't believe that on all my trips to Eau Claire, I never stopped here!! I didn't know it existed but next time I head up there, I'm definitely going to take a detour into Sparta!
JaspinderKaur on August 03, 2013:
Thanx for sharing.
LeslieMirror on August 02, 2013:
The idea is crazy, but rather capturing! =) But it has quite risky location, as drivers will definitely pay attention to it! =)
anonymous on August 01, 2013:
I'm from Sparta, WI and drove by that eyeball almost everyday on my way to school. It's definitely something to see if you're in the neighborhood. While you're there walk around and look at the other sculptures and molds at FAST Corp. They are very detailed and well done.
anonymous on August 01, 2013:
Thank you for sharing this story and location. :)
Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on July 30, 2013:
I've seen the eyeball in person! It is really weird to see such a big eye looking at you as you drive by. You definitely made a fun lens about it.
Blonde Blythe from U.S.A. on July 30, 2013:
What a fun attraction! Enjoyed this lens!
Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on July 29, 2013:
I spy with my little eye....a huge EYE! Very cool indeed! I once visited Wisconsin, but definitely saw nothing as strange as that!
susansweaters on July 28, 2013:
very interesting! I've seen a few crazy things by the side of the road when traveling.
Gregory Moore from Louisville, KY on July 26, 2013:
If I ever find myself in Wisconsin again, I am gonna have to stop by for a picture. What a very well done 'wierd' lens!
Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on July 25, 2013:
You've just gotta admire the creativity of some people, especially those with the drive to bring their imaginations to life!
Kristen (author) from Wisconsin on July 25, 2013:
@AcornOakForest: Sounds like it's time for a roadtrip! :)
Kristen (author) from Wisconsin on July 25, 2013:
@anonymous: Sparta, WI is just a sleepy little WI town. No major crime to speak of, that I could see, and the people are all very friendly. If there is a neighborhood watch, I think it would be only appropriate for them to hold their meetings next to the eyeball that stands watch on the edge of town, don't you? :)
Susan Hazelton from Summerfield, Florida on July 25, 2013:
How interesting. I would definitely stop if I saw a giant eye by the side of the road. Who could resist?
Torrs13 on July 25, 2013:
That's definitely interesting! I've driven through a lot of states and I see the most random things!
anonymous on July 24, 2013:
So how are the people there? Is it the neighborhood watch?
Hope there isn't a lot of crime.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on July 24, 2013:
I've driven around Wisconsin quite a bit, but somehow missed seeing the gigantic eyeball. My loss. Would have been a fun experience. Congrats on your feature.
Mary Stephenson from California on July 23, 2013:
The eyeball is freaky, but large animals would be fun to see.
Fay Favored from USA on July 23, 2013:
It's really strange, but you kind of like it. :) Congrats for making the front page.
SteveKaye on July 23, 2013:
Fantastic! Thank you for publishing this lens. I'll add that we have some weird stuff here in California, but I'm sure you knew that.
lmoser on July 23, 2013:
It's very weird indeed!
justintorres123 on July 23, 2013:
Freaky but cool! xD
DreyaB on July 22, 2013:
I think that's amazing! It reminds me of the Squidoo eye...
lesliesinclair on July 22, 2013:
Like the story, but the eyeball's not my kind of thing.
SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on July 22, 2013:
I don't think an eyeball would entice me to stop but the other shapes might!
Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on July 22, 2013:
I don't live very far from there and I haven't seen the eyeball. Very fun!
Kim Milai on July 22, 2013:
I LOVE that big giant eyeball!
Erin Mellor from Europe on July 22, 2013:
I love America's weird and wonderful roadside attractions, I always stop and gawp.
DebW07 on July 21, 2013:
Wow! I would really like to see that big eye up-close. Interesting lens!
Arod17 on July 21, 2013: