Up and away at Conner Prairie

May 5, 2009
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Conner Prairie balloon rideLooks like the folks at Conner Prairie in Fishers have beat White River State Park to the hot-air-balloon-ride punch. They plan to unveil a tethered balloon ride tonight as part of a $2.2-million exhibit called 1859 Balloon Voyage. The exhibit "will tell the remarkable story of how the first successful delivery of air mail via balloon happened to occur in Indiana,� Conner Prairie CEO Ellen M. Rosenthal said in a statement. “Our exhibit will, in the Conner Prairie way, be based on painstaking historic research, some of which was conducted in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute. It will place visitors at Courthouse Square in Lafayette in 1859 as the balloon rises" up to 350 feet into the air. The balloon even has a sponsor, locally based Ricker Oil Company, which is putting the logos for its BP and am/pm convenience stores on the balloon. It opens to the public on June 6. Need a refresher on the balloon plans for downtown Indianapolis? Check here.
  • Sweet! That looks like fun.

    By forming a pattern on the balloon, the logos look nicer than they should. Someone knows what's up. Um, no pun intended. :-)
  • So.....based on their painstaking historic research they discovered that the air mail delivery balloon in 1859 had corporate logos plastered on it?
  • Define irony - oil....the fuel that revolutionized air travel and killed the hot air balloon industry as the sponsor. :)

    Nevertheless, looks like a a pretty sweet ride with a nice nostalgic feel.
  • LOL, Eric.... you are just kidding about oil killing the balloon industry? It wouldn't have anything to do with complete and utter inefficiency as a means of travel would it?
  • It may not have killed the balloon industry, but big oil is certainly going to kill the aesthetics of the whole ride.

    p.s. the price for a ride is a bit inflated as well...15 smackers from what I've heard.
  • Hello,

    Thanks for the feedback! The price of the balloon voyage with a $5 discount coupon from our sponsor, Ricker Oil, will be $10 for non-members and $7 for members. Coupons are available at participating BP am/pm store locations in central Indiana. This is a wonderful model of good corporate citizenship during these difficult economic times!
  • Hydrogen killed balloon travel. Even though US dirgibles used helium, the disaster of the Hindenburg, coupled with the destruction in storms of the Akron and Macon, ended public faith in balloon travel.

    Of course it may be coming back. Right now they are designing heavy lifting dirgibles to carry large loads through the air, kind of like air born barges. Some small scale passenger dirgibles are being used, and there are thoughts of making large scale luxury dirgibles for long distance travel.
  • Indyman -

    thanks for the history lesson on dirgibles. I admit I had to wikepedia it. An air bound barge sounds safer....no pirates!

    Still looking foward to the balloon ride....haven't been on one of these since I was a kid. CP - thanks for the tip on coupons.
  • Great minds think alike, Kevin F. While I understand the need for sponsorship and commend Ricker for its generosity, I wish Conner Prairie's leaders would have kept their integrity and found a more subtle and historically accurate way to display it. Shameful, really.
  • Carl Fisher who built IMS did a publicity stunt with a balloon that was pretty good. Here is a cut out of his Wikipedia entry:

    Fisher staged an elaborate publicity stunt in which he attached a hot air balloon to a white Stoddard-Dayton automobile and flew the car over downtown Indianapolis. Thousands of people observed the spectacle and Fisher triumphantly drove back into town, becoming an instant media sensation. Unbeknown to the public, the flying car had its engine removed to lighten the load, and several identical cars were driven out to meet it, to allow Fisher to drive back into the city. Afterwards, he advertised, The Stoddard-Dayton was the first automobile to fly over Indianapolis. It should be your first automobile too. Another stunt involved pushing a car off the roof of a building and then driving it away, to demonstrate its durability.

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.