Conner Prairie’s new balloon to be inflated Wednesday

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – A new era will be ushered in to Conner Prairie on Wednesday afternoon, when one of the site’s most popular attractions will get a fresh start and a new exhibit.

If weather conditions stay favorable, a 140-foot tethered helium balloon will be inflated with the help of 70 volunteers.

The inflation team, led by French manufacturer Aerophile, will determine if the weather is conducive to inflating on Wednesday or Thursday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the installation area was prepared for the inflation, with hundreds of 40-pound sandbags positioned throughout, and the actual balloon envelope readied and prepped.

December 2014 saw the last of the original balloon, which was launched in 2009, after officials decided that a new exhibit telling the history of the first successful delivery of U.S. air mail in Lafayette in 1859 would better fit the needs of Conner Prairie.

The new exhibit, sponsored by Reynolds Farm Equipment, will tell the story from the viewpoint of 1859 Lafayette through interactive store fronts, exploratory experiments of the gasworks behind helium balloons, and the history of balloonist John Wise and his historic flight.

The new balloon going up Wednesday will allow visitors a 15-minute trip up 350 feet in the air.

The exhibit tour is free for members and included with paid general admission to Conner Prairie, and flights in the balloon cost $12 for members and $15 for non-members.