Ringing in the Games: Big Ben to toll for Olympics

By the Associated Press | July 24, 2012 | 2:39 PM EDT

A worker carries a board while installing a display of international flags across the street from Big Ben Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in London. The city will host the 2012 London Olympics with opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 27. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

LONDON (AP) — Big Ben is going to sound bonkers on Friday.

The venerable bell is going to toll some 40 times for three minutes to celebrate the first day of the London Olympics.

Thousands of other bells are also set to chime across Britain from 8:12 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. as part of Turner Prize-winning musician Martin Creed's commission for the arts festival that accompanies the games.

Olympics organizers say Tuesday it is believed to be the first time that Big Ben has been rung outside its regular schedule since 1952, when it tolled 56 times for King George VI's funeral, once for every year of his life.

People across their country are being encouraged to take part, either with a real bell or an app created by organizers for the occasion.