IRVINE, Calif., July 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The five story-tall, 10,560-pound, iconic orange Great Park Balloon was filled today with 5,500 cubic meters of helium in preparation for its official launch on July 14, 2007. The Aerophile Corporation, the manufacturer of the Orange County Great Park Aero 30NG Balloon, inflated and prepared the giant tethered Balloon for lift-off. July 14, 2007 officially marks the first phase opening of the Orange County Great Park. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070710/DCTU046 ) "The Balloon is an uplifting symbol of the new destination point for all Orange County and soon all the nation," said Ken Smith, Orange County Great Park Master Designer. "I chose the Balloon because it clearly represents the uniqueness and creativity of this special park." A variety of vigorous activities took place to prepare the Balloon for actual inflation. First, the 210,000 cubic foot envelope was taken out of the box and spread flatly on the ground. Helium valves were inserted for use in inflating the Balloon. The Balloon was then carefully taken to the landing platform and attached to its cable. It is now inflated. The day-long work event preceded the official lift-off of the Balloon and California's first great metropolitan park of the 21st Century. The event serves as a visual symbol of the transformation of the site of the former El Toro Marine Air Station into the Orange County Great Park. The Balloon will carry up to 30 passengers 500 feet up in the air, providing them with an aerial view of the Park and surrounding community. Public Balloon rides will be available after the July 14 Balloon launch, Thursdays through Sundays. The Orange County Great Park, which is almost twice the size of Central Park, will be a major metropolitan park and the focal point of the redevelopment of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro. The Great Park will include extensive natural areas and open space in addition to recreational and cultural uses. For more information, please go to http://www.ocgp.org.
SOURCE The Orange County Great Park