George Strait finale balloon drop
June 7th “the cowboy road away” at the AT&T Stadium the home of the Dallas cowboys. DFW was the final show of George Strait’s tour.
One week before the event, we were contacted to do the balloon drop for his ending song. This drop had to be big, epic, and unforgettable. Go big or go home, in true Texas style.
The event planner was concerned about the time it would take the balloons to hit the ground from a 300 feet tall ceiling. My balloon crew together with the event planner came up with an idea to do a mini drop four days before the show using one 50’ long bag. This was the best way to time how long it would take for the first balloon to hit the ground, and also to estimate the total balloons needed for the balloon drop.
It took 1:30 minutes for the normal sizes balloons and 1:00 minute for the 3’ giant balloons to fall. For this stadium, we decided to use 16,000 balloons.
I only had three days to make this happen. Production was now in high gear. My Balloon City crew started making the bags and stocking the balloons while I worked on logistics. I needed to put together a crew of balloon professionals to help inflate the balloons. I assembled 10 people using 4 other balloon companies from as far away as Houston. Having a great crew is key to a successful event. The crew was awesome and inflated all 16,000 balloons in less time than I have calculated. With that major part finished the only thing left was to rig them in the catwalk.
The next day, I only needed to move the bags into place on the ground and make sure the riggers installed them correctly. After a lot of standing around and waiting everything was rigged and ready for the sound check.
Now for me there was nothing left to do but wait until the next night to enjoy the show. I had a guest pass that allowed me full access! I felt so special parking with the tour buses, with my own entrance and being able to go wherever I wanted. There was over 100,000 people that attended the George Strait concert. That is more people than the population of my hometown!
The concert was great and the timing of the finale was perfect. The promoter found me on the stage floor to tell me the balloon drop was epic! Epic is good!
Check it out for yourself: VIDEO
World cup fever is in full swing. Just in time for my first visit to Colombia. I’m so lucky to have been invited to be an instructor with Jan Iiams at Sempertex Balloon Company.
The timing is perfect for me to catch the South American Futbol fever! There is no continent in the world that celebrates more the World Cup.
In honor of Futbol, I am going to teach in my classes how to build a giant Futbol balloon or as we say here in America soccer ball.
I am going to use a design that my Amigo Dante Longhi created last year at FLOAT. He was playing in the jam room and made a small version using 260 balloons. Then, Tommy Delorenzo and Robin Veach decided they wanted to make a bigger version using LINK O LOONS. They made a monster soccer ball big enough to bowl over Dante while he was explaining how he made it. I am attaching the video, so you can experience it for yourself.
In my class, I will make two versions of the monster giant soccer ball. The first one is the one that Tommy and Robin made, and the other is a smaller version that is easier to maneuver and use for décor. I will make the smaller version out of 6” LINK O LOONS. Using 6” will result in a soccer ball about 4’ tall. This is a good size for room décor that you can hang from the ceiling or placed on the stage. Depending on your party, there can be many uses for this ball. They can be placed on top of columns to use in key areas inside the event space. Also, they can be placed outside the entrance to make a dramatic impact.
I made a very short video for my class in Bogota. I wanted to share it with you as well.
Let’s think Big. Thinking small never got anybody anywhere.
The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (Dallas CVB) launched a new branding campaign, designed to show the world that “Big Things Happen Here.” In support of the campaign, the Dallas CVB hosted a social media contest for locals to explore Dallas by capturing photos at prominent locations throughout the DFW Metroplex and share over social media for opportunities to win one-of-a-kind experiences.
Locals simply take a photo of themselves or with friends between a life-size display of the letters “B” and “G” and then share the photo on social media channels using the hashtag #DallasBIG. Nearly two dozen “B & G” displays are placed at locations throughout the city giving fans a chance to be the “I” in BIG. Taking photos sounds like lots of fun, but I’m more of a “why take a pic when we can make a video kinda guy”. So I started working on a plan for the “BIG” video.
First, I picked three of my favorite locations. Pioneer Park, Fair Park and Deep Ellum. Pioneer Park is located in front of the Dallas Convention center, and it is one of my favorite places to take my friends when they come to visit. It is so much fun to take pictures with all of the bronze steers acting like you are being chased by a wild cattle drive. Fair Park is the home of the world’s largest collection of art deco building and is a truly wonderful place to explore even when the state fair is not happening. Deep Ellum is Dallas’ old warehouse district, turned into entertainment venues. Back in the days all the great African-American blues artists played there. Today this area offers great clubs, bars and restaurants. Deep Ellum is also the home of Balloon City USA world headquarters.
Now, all that was left was to create the video. I decided to feature the Balloon City crew along with…. Balloons of course. After choosing the location and the cast, I needed the perfect song. It had to be snappy and fun. I chose PSY’s gentleman. After all my entire balloon crew are all gentlemen.
I hope you enjoy this quick 1:16 minute video. Come and dance with us.
VIDEO:Balloon City goes BIG
At Balloon City USA, we have over 25 Balloon inflators. The inflator choice depends on the job we are working on.
I would like to show you a few examples of some of my favorite balloon inflators. I want to start with the Conwin inflators. The Precision Air is my go to inflator for any work that requires exact balloon sizing. I can set it as low as 0.01 seconds and go up to more seconds than I ever use. The Precision Air is electric, using only compressed air. The issue with this inflator is that you cannot use helium.
Another inflator, The Duel Split, can be used with air and also helium. The Duel Split will require the use of tanks. Steven Mayhew from Conwin gave a demonstration, explaining how to use this inflator, to the Betallic balloon design team. Below you can click to see this video.
Now you know how great Conwin products are, but there is one extra thing you need to know. The Precision Air and the Duel Split are not cheap! Conwin is the Cadillac of inflators and so is the price, but if you are just starting out in the balloon industry you may not be able to afford them until you build your business.
Zephyr makes a line of inflators that will be a great deal for the price you pay. We always carry a Zoom and Zizer inflators in our toolbox on every job we do, even if we are using the Precision Air. Now lets talk about the Zoom and Zizer.
We use the Zoom inflator when we are doing classic balloon décor like arches and columns. We can inflate two balloons at the same time just like the Conwin inflators; however, we can’t automatically control the size of the balloons. We have to do it manually by lifting our hands off the nozzle. In the next link, you can find a brief explanation of how to use the Zoom.
With the help from my 2 close friends, Jan Iiams and Melissa Vinson, the next video will demonstrate how much fun and easy it is to use the Zizer inflator. The Zizer has a nob that can be adjusted to turn off the inflator using a timer. The Zizer is an excellent inflator for using with an untrained crew. After using for only a few minutes your crew will be able to inflate all the balloons to the same size.
There are many balloon inflators that do different kind of jobs. I decided to share with you only these few inflators because they are the ones I use the most at Balloon City USA.
I hope you have found this blog informative as well as fun.
Introducing Pat Crosland
Holidaz by Dezign
I first met Pat Croslandfrom Holidaz by Dezign when she volunteered to pick me up at the Phoenix Airport to take me to my first ever Twist & Shout Balloon Convention. I was there to help Jan Iiams keep the jam room stocked with balloons and add an extra hand for her centerpiece class. As it turned out Pat took Jan’s class. All the students were creating their own designs to use as table centerpieces for the final night party. The class was close to ending so I picked out my favorite arrangement. I asked Who had created this design? it was Pat. I picked out another centerpiece that had good use of design and composition, it was also Pat’s! and the next couple I picked out also were created by Pat!!!
A few years have passed since our first meeting. We have stayed in touch and met at several other balloon conventions. FLOAT, the Halloween and Party show and a couple more Twist & Shouts. She has always been someone I could depend on. If I need help getting supplies or labor (think minion), she is always willing to lend a hand.
Pat Crosland was kind enough to show a couple of her balloon twisting techniques using an 18 gauge floral wire. I know it sounds totally crazy to insert a floral wire inside the balloon, but wait till you see. She uses the wire as the framework for her twists.
I have seen these techniques used in competition pieces but never knew how it was done. A big Texas thank you to Pat for allowing me to make this video to share with Yawl.
Hands down Sue Bowler has one of my favorite balloon blogs.
I follow Sue’s blog. The Very Best Balloon Blog by Sue Bowler CBA. I find it full of great tips with many photos and ideas. If a holiday is coming up and I need a few creative ideas, I know she will be posting something in time to use.
When Sue contacted me asking to use one of my YouTube videos in her blog. I was very excited. She was writing an article about the World Balloon Convention (WBC) which I have attended. I created a video of behind the scenes of this amazing event. It shows many of the artists from around the world working on their competition pieces.
I hope you enjoy Sue’s blog as mush as I do, and find my video entertaining and educational as well.
I love it when I hear people say “I can believe that is made out of balloons!!!” Well, Believe it 😉
If you have not already clicked on one of the links above, Click here to check out The very Best Balloon blog by Sue Bowler.
I also have a video from the first World Balloon Convention (WBC) from 2010. So if you enjoyed the video posted on Sue’s blog, I think you will also find my other video interesting. It has some on my favorite artists and friends in it, from America to Japan and many places in between. Check it out and see if you can recognize any of your favorites. Click here to check out World Balloon Convention 2010
I will be attending WBC this year as well, so be on the look out for another World Balloon Convention video 2014 coming soon. Who knows who and what I will see there. Rest assured that it will be a good good time!
Twist & Shout 2014 was held in Rochester, New York. In the middle of a very messy winter storm, but balloon twisters being who they are did not allow a little bad weather to get in their way. This was one of the most amazing events I have had the privilege to be a part of in the balloon industry.
The jam room was my favorite place to be. It was where most of the energy, creativity and sharing took place. Those sleep deprived twisters would stay up all night creating wonderful sculptures. Most of the time their artwork would wind up discarded. The floor soon became covered in creations full of color, which I called “treasures!” I would search the floor early in the morning to see what I could discover. I had a plan in my mind to make an Epic Balloon-amation video.
The last night of Twist & Shout, I gathered all my treasured pieces together and began my task. I only knew a few of the artist names and sculptures and the rest I’m hoping to discover when they see this video. I would love to know every person that helped to make this video. So if you see something you created please tag it or comment so you can get your well deserved credit.
I want to thank everyone whose talent made this Balloon-amation possible!!
Start the New Years Eve countdown. 10-9-8- Three, Two, ONE!!!!!
Happy New Year
This year’s New Years Eve parties were a little bit of a challenge for me. 3 days of set up combined with 3 days of the Flu! Lucky for me I had my “A team” balloon crew to rely on. Together we were able to install 14 events. Some were big and some were small but all were important. Most of our events were balloon drops! Meaning me climbing ladders up and down and up and down.
It’s always fun for me to add a video of special events we do. So here is one from Lights All night! a 3 day New Years Eve party.
I want to wish everyone the very best in 2014!
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” -Nelson Mandela, South African revolutionary/politician.