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Costa Mesa : Statue of Liberty Replica to Tower Over County Fair

Mark Whitbeck is plotting to blow up the statue of liberty in Costa Mesa.

Whitbeck, the official inflater for Robert and Keith Co. of San Diego, will soon shoot about 200 pounds of cold air into a 50-foot-tall replica of the grand lady.

The pale green inflatable Statue of Liberty will serve as a mascot of sorts, towering over the 93rd annual Orange County Fair, which runs July 12 through 21. The vinyl-coated nylon statute was designed by the makers of the 1984 fair mascot, a 72-foot-tall King Kong replica. Fair organizers say the Statue of Liberty will stand atop a 10-foot-high platform and be visible from the Costa Mesa Freeway.

Two large hoses will blow cold air continually into furnacelike blowers, and the constant air pressure is what holds the statue upright, Whitbeck said. He said only a strong wind can tumble the statue.

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However, a security guard has been hired to “keep well-wishers at a good distance” from the statue, valued at $32,000, Whitbeck said. He said organizers of the 10-day fair and exposition center are paying $17,000 to rent it for the fair’s duration.

The plastic replicas are “not bullet-proof,” Whitbeck said, “but it’s almost impossible to shoot them down” because so much air is blown into them.

However, people have managed to deflate the festivities on occasion.

Last year, someone opened a four-foot-long zipper on King Kong’s heel and temporarily took the wind out of the huge gorilla.

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Most of the giant inflatables that the San Diego firm makes are used for advertising and promotion, Whitbeck said.


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