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. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.