Elkhart elated about Big Balloon Build

NOW: Elkhart elated about Big Balloon Build

ELKHART, Ind. -- The Big Balloon Build, an international event, began today in Elkhart, with balloon sculptures taking shape to spread cheer and benefit a good cause. Artists from around the world are creating balloon sculptures to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana. Many onlookers were blown away by their sneak peak of the immersive balloon carnival.

Building of the huge sculptures began this morning, with artists crafting the balloons into intricate patterns and shapes, including a gigantic clown. Before the Big Balloon Build can take flight, the first step involves building the outer wall of the balloons.

Julie Cylia, who serves on the Balloon Artist Task Force, elaborated, “What you see now is all of the teams are making walls. That’s the first thing that goes up, so we will cover all of these walls and it will actually look like a different place by the end of the day.

And then the next process is starting to build the little details that go with it, like the Ferris wheels, the mighty man, the strongman, the clowns, and things like that.”

This creative process will take four days, with artists working on their sculptures from today through Thursday. One team began to construct carnival scenes and animals out of balloons.

Dena Atchley, one of the balloon artists, expanded on her plans. “This is going to be a seven-foot-tall strongman gorilla that is going to be holding a giant set of dumb bells.”

Elkhart is only the fifth location in the United States to host this international Big Balloon Build for charity, all thanks to Jennifer Nyikos, who got involved with the organizers in Wales and applied to bring this balloon wonderland to the north of Indiana.

Nyikos, the host of Elkhart’s Big Balloon Build, explained, “Every time we have a build, the host gets to choose the theme. I’ve chosen carnival, kind of a nod to the fair that Elkhart has with their big 4-H Fair, so we are going to have an immersive experience." This carnival world will include a Ferris wheel, pirate ship, roller coaster, bumper cars, and all types of animals.

General admission tickets are $10 for ages five and up, with all of the money going to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana.

According to Nyikos, host of the Big Ballon Build in Elkhart, “Everything we do through ticket sales and sponsorship, I am donating 100 percent of it to Ronald McDonald house and their mission to keep families close, to support families who are supporting their sick child.”

This spectacle will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with the carnival consisting of more than 150,000 biodegradable balloons. Cylia always enjoys the amazement of spectators. “Oh wow. Wow. Wow. That’s the reaction you are going to see. Every time the public comes in, all we see is wow, wow, I didn’t know balloons could do that.”

Today’s preview provided only a taste of what’s in store for the Big Balloon Build, which opens to the public this Saturday and Sunday in Elkhart.

You can learn even more about the event and grab your tickets here.

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