Giant Jesus balloon ready for its maiden flight

A hot air balloon that features an image of Jesus Christ will take its first flight this Easter in the skies of western New York.

The 80ft-tall balloon, which is called ‘Risen’, is made from 2,000sq yds of fabric and has a total volume of 105,000 cubic feet when fully inflated. Printed on the balloon is a reproduction of a painting by Jack Jewell called “The Risen Christ by the Sea”, which comes from the Christian story concerning Jesus’ resurrection.

Geoff Turner, an American business owner, commissioned the balloon. He has a copy of the painting in his home, which gave him the idea to have a hot air balloon made featuring the Easter image.

At events that allow hot air balloon rides, the craft will be crewed by two people and carry up to eight passengers. However, at events where rides are not allowed, members of Mr Turner’s staff will crew the balloon.

This is not the first Christian-themed hot air balloon already flying around the world. Perhaps the most famous of them is Christ the Redeemer, which was created to look like Jesus with his arms stretched wide, although wearing the top of the Australian national football team.

It was designed to resemble the statue of the same name that overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At 150ft high, the balloon is taller than the original structure and was built as part of a marketing ploy for last year’s World Cup.

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