EVE’s Amelia Earhart balloon makes the news in Kansas

March 15, 2011 by EVE   · Comments Off

There was a terrific write-up about EVE in the Topeka Capital-Journal last weekend. Most of the article is about our Amelia Earhart statue project, but the reporter also devoted some space to our balloons:

Amelia Earhart balloon in IndianapolisThe Kansas statue is the second Earhart-related project for EVE. The organization has launched a line of giant parade balloons featuring famous American women — with Earhart leading the way.

The balloon, which depicts Earhart in her red Lockheed Vega, made its debut at the Circle City Parade on Oct. 2 in Indianapolis. Scoggins said the balloon, which has a 45-foot wing span, may make an appearance July 4 at the National Independence Day Parade in Washington.

The balloon likely will not make a stop in Earhart’s hometown. Pregont said she was unsure if Atchison has “the capability to get it down our streets.”

“But any publicity with Amelia Earhart is great for Atchison,” she added.

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Earhart Flies High Again

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On October 2, in a constant downpour of rain, EVE’s Amelia Earhart balloon had its first test flight in the Circle City Parade in Indianapolis, Indiana. The rain might have decreased the size of the crowd but not their enthusiasm. The parade was televised locally so most likely tens of thousands of people got to see EVE’s Earhart balloon on television and hear about the accomplishments of Amelia Earhart. The Indianapolis Star featured a write-up of the parade and a picture of only one of the balloons, Amelia Earhart.

The unrelenting rain did cause EVE to make an adjustment in the display of the balloon. The balloon handlers did not wear their white “flightsuits” with an AE logo because we did not want our new costumes to be damaged in the rain.

On November 20, the Amelia Earhart Balloon will fly high again. Amelia will be one of the featured balloons in the Festival of Trees Holiday Parade in Davenport, Iowa. The parade will feature over 20 giant helium balloons.

Stay tuned to find out where Amelia will fly next!

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Amelia Earhart balloon is set to fly!

September 27, 2010 by EVE   · 6 Comments »

Artist sketch of the balloon.

Artist sketch of the balloon.

Major announcement today! Quoting our press release:

*****

Amelia Earhart Will Make History Again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27 — There are giant parade balloons of Olive Oyl and Miss Piggy, but until now, no one has ever produced a balloon of an actual historic woman.

All that will change on October 2, when a forty-five foot helium balloon of Amelia Earhart in her red Lockheed Vega will make its first test flight in the 2010 Circle City Classic Parade in Indianapolis. Three to four hundred thousand people are expected to be on hand to witness the launch of the balloon. The parade will also be televised in Indianapolis, greatly increasing the viewership of the historic moment.

The Earhart balloon will be one of five balloons in the parade, all supplied by StarBound Entertainment. The balloon will escorted by thirty balloon handlers dressed in white jumpsuits patterned after Amelia Earhart’s famous flight suit. …continue reading

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Ta-da! Official artist sketch of the Amelia Earhart balloon!

Here it is, the artist’s rendering of the new Amelia Earhart balloon:

balloon_paradeview1

Bear in mind this thing will be humongous—with a 40-foot wingspan, it will be the same size as the real airplane!

The art has been through several iterations and tweaked in response to feedback from EVE’s 99 Club, and now it’s ready to go. The Earhart Estate has approved the renderings and the engineering crew is ready to start sculpting the clay model. (There are other elevations too, showing the balloon from all angles, but this one gives the best overall view I think.)

Now for the hard sell: if you haven’t already donated to the 99 Club, please consider helping out.
The contributions we’ve received so far have enabled us to make the first payment on the balloon, pay for the parade banner, and pay for the balloon handler suits (they’re going to look like a ground crew in flight suits).

But we still need to raise the rest of the money to cover expenses. …continue reading

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Take the poll: coffee (mug), T (shirt), or ….

We are HUGELY grateful to all the 99 Club members who have helped us raise the funds for the Amelia Earhart balloon. We would be absolutely nowhere without your wonderful generosity. Thanks to you, we have made the down payment on the balloon, hired the artist, ordered and paid for the parade banner, and ordered and paid for the balloon handler costumes.

But we’re still short! So we’re thinking of offering some CafePress items as another way for people to support the Amelia Earhart balloon. The design would say something like, “I helped put Amelia back in the skies!”

What do you think? Which of these items do you think we should offer? You can check off more than one box, or suggest something else in the comments.

What would you like to see us offer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Messenger bag from CafePress.

Messenger bag from CafePress.

Black windbreaker from CafePress.

Black windbreaker from CafePress.


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The ground crew for the Amelia Earhart balloon
This white jumpsuit was worn by Hilary Swank in the movie Amelia.  The studio donated it to the Ninety-Nines.

This white jumpsuit was worn by Hilary Swank in the movie 'Amelia.' The studio donated it to the Ninety-Nines.

I’ve just placed the order for the white jumpsuits the balloon handlers will wear while guiding the Amelia Earhart balloon. We’re going to dress them to look like a ground crew, wearing suits similar to what Amelia herself wore. The costume pictured at right was worn by Hilary Swank in the movie “Amelia.”

Toni McKay at StarBound Entertainment (the balloon company) came up with the brilliant idea of using inexpensive Tyvek-type suits. They’re much cheaper than real jumpsuits and can be easily replaced. We don’t plan to have the balloon handlers roll around in mechanic grease to get that authentic lived-in look, but a little wear and tear won’t hurt. We’re also going to put stickers on the suits that say “A.E.,” though probably we’ll put them on the front rather than the back (for a variety of reasons).

We could have gone with custom t-shirts, the way a lot of balloon sponsors do, but we think the “flight suits” are much better. And cheaper!

These are the 'flight suits' our balloon handlers will wear.

These are the 'flight suits' our balloon handlers will wear.


P.S. Watch the slide show on our Amelia balloon page to see several pictures of balloon handlers in action.

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Sneak peek at the Amelia Earhart balloon

August 5, 2010 by Suzanne Scoggins, Director of Women's History   · Comments Off

The sketches for our new Amelia Earhart balloon are in—and they’re gorgeous! We sent our 99 Club members the first view earlier this week and got some great feedback. The artist made a couple of tweaks based on their comments, and now the final versions are ready.

Here’s the birdseye view:

Top_b

Yes, we’re being sneaky—don’t you want to see Amelia’s face? But we’re holding on to the other elevations and detail drawings until our 99 Club members can see them first.

The next step is for the designers and engineers at StarBound Entertainment (the balloon makers) to create a clay model of the balloon. We’re shooting for a test flight in a Labor Day parade, with a big-venue major debut for Thanksgiving. Our volunteer staff at EVE is busy getting the parade banner designed, ordering the flight suits for the “ground crew” (the balloon handlers who guide the balloon in the parade), and doing a thousand other things.

But we still need to raise the rest of the cash!

We already have 52 members of the 99 Club, and we’re looking for 47 more. The clock is ticking and the calendar pages are flipping. We need to pay the artist, pay for the balloon, pay for the parade banner, pay for the flight suits—pay, pay, pay!

Please join the 99 Club today and invite all of your friends to do the same. And remember—your contribution is tax-deductible.

We’re almost there!

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Balloon Fever

Last Friday I asked you to push us over the halfway point with our balloon fund in time for us to place the order—and you did it!

I never thought much about giant helium balloons except to ogle at them as a child during parades. I don’t remember the bands except for the fact that there were bands, or floats except the fact there were floats, but I can still see the balloons in my mind’s eye. Maybe it’s their sheer magnitude or the fact that they defy gravity that makes them so special. I guess that’s why EVE decided on its balloon project. What better way to get people to see women than to make them larger than life—way larger than life.

My first task as a newly appointed balloon producer was to go to a parade and watch how parade-goers responded to the balloons. I marveled at the smiles they brought to everyone’s faces, the way people crowded around just to watch them be inflated and come to life. I saw parents position their children when they saw a balloon approaching so they could take their picture with the balloon in the background. Why not? Balloons are fun, larger than life, playful: a little bit of whimsy in a serious world.

EVE’s first balloon will be Amelia Earhart. Why Amelia Earhart? We thought over a lot of possibilities. There were literally hundreds of female historical figures to choose from, but a few key things favored Amelia: the historic nature of her accomplishments, the striking visual of a red Lockhead Vega against a blue sky, the fact that she was not a controversial but rather a much beloved cultural icon, the fact that the balloon would be aerodynamic, and most importantly, that she would send a message to young girls that they could do anything, anything at all.

But when we embarked on the balloon project, we had no idea how to build a balloon. It isn’t quite like going to your local shopping mall to a build-a-bear workshop. So we started by partnering with one of the three major balloon companies in the country, StarBound Entertainment. With over twenty years in the business, we figured they knew what to do. …continue reading

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Donate by this Sunday so you can see Amelia in the skies this Labor Day!

vega_amelia

In order to put Amelia back in the skies this Labor Day, we must order the balloon this Sunday.

We are still short the cash needed to place the order. But we’re almost there!

We only need 11 more people to join our 99 Club by Sunday. That’s not much more. WE CAN DO IT!

Please join the 99 Club today and invite all of your friends to do the same. And remember—your contribution is tax-deductible.

How exciting! In just 6 weeks, we could see our new Amelia Earhart balloon in one of the Labor Day parades!

See also: Uppity Women and Subversive History.

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Uppity women and subversive history

You know what I like best about our balloon project? That it’s so subversive.

As women and feminists, we’ve always had to find ways around the entrenched power structures to get our stories told. Remember the Guerrilla Girls in the 80s? Remember the “This demeans women” stickers in the 70s?

The establishment institutions are biased against women and girls, which of course is why EVE exists in the first place. And it’s unavoidable that a big part of our work is focused on effecting change in those institutions: stamps, currency, statues, street names.

But the balloon project gives us an opportunity to go rogue. It’s a wildly subversive way to get women’s history right there in front of people, bypassing the corporate media and the official textbooks and the documentaries and the museums and the memorials—all that male-centered, woman-denying stuff that dominates the landscape. Think of it: a 40-foot helium balloon of Amelia Earhart—or Harriet Tubman, or Susan B. Anthony, or Clara Barton—sailing down the street. Impossible to miss. And the television announcers will be reading the script we’ve supplied, explaining what the balloon is all about, who the woman was. Millions of people will be exposed to real women’s history. Millions of people will hear our message.

I admit, it took me awhile to see the beauty of the plan. When Lynette Long first presented the idea to me, I was like, what? Parade balloons? I’d never thought about it. But the more we talked about it and the more I learned, the more I realized what we could do with this. We are incredibly lucky to have hooked up with Toni McKay, whose StarBound Entertainment is one of the top two balloon suppliers in the country. She totally believes in this project, and is chomping at the bit to get these balloons designed and built. And because of her position in the industry, she has the ability to make sure our balloons fly in some of the biggest parades in the country.

My fantasy now is to some day have parade balloons of all those women who ought to be world-famous, but aren’t. Can you imagine? I want to hear the TV announcer introducing these balloons:

Admiral Grace Hopper: the woman who invented modern computer programming.
Buffalo Calf Road Woman: the Cheyenne warrior who killed Custer.
Mercy Otis Warren: the woman who conceived of the Bill of Rights.

But first we need to get Amelia Earhart launched. If you haven’t chipped in yet, please consider giving if you can. As we point out in the Q&A about the balloon, it’s a great value for the money. The balloon will last for 20 years and be seen by millions of people every year—and all for less than $10,000.

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Next Page »

  • Support our Balloon Project!

    Amelia Earhart is aloft, but there are more balloons to come. We hope to introduce a new balloon every year: Annie Oakley, Harriet Tubman, Nellie Bly, Judith Resnik, Abigail Adams, Clara Barton, Dian Fossey, and many more. Your tax-deductible contribution will be earmarked especially for our Great American Heroines project: