Don’t you love all the excitement of the 4th of July? There are so many options to choose from! You can have a picnic, a barbecue, go to see fireworks, and so many more choices. To tell the truth, we love all these things but seldom have a chance to go, relax, and have fun. When you create balloon art for a living July 4 usually means you work while everyone else is having fun.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my work. My kids are grown, I don’t have any grandkids, so I’m one of those “old people” at holiday celebrations. When Leslie Herman from the City of Fairfax Department of Parks and Recreation invited me to participate in the annual parade, I figured, “Why not?” Why not join the community in saluting our 1st responders? After all, they deserve it.
For the last 29 years I’ve had a fire hydrant in front of my house, and I’ve seen them use it. When there’s a 4 alarm fire right across the street, or when the house next door to you is on fire, there’s a lot of excitement. You also get to see up close just how hard those guys and gals work. What could be better than making a balloon firetruck out of balloons? So we did.
Our daughter Tracy came home to help us with the build, and we had a guest artist, Julie Zauzmer, from Zippy’s Balloons come out to help, too. We’d met last year when we build Balloon Manor 2015 with Airigami artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle create a 5 story tall under the sea exhibition so we all knew we could handle something like a truck. It would only take us roughly 2,000 balloons, not the 40,000 they’d used in Balloon Manor.
Right. Then I started thinking about what’d I’d committed to. Hey, where are we going to build this thing? In the studio downstairs, of course. Uh, how are we going to get it to the venue? Borrow or rent a truck. Local realtor Debbie Dogrul was kind enough to sponsor us with the use of her truck. Great! Ummmm, how are we going to get it out of the basement, through the living room, and out the door? Oops!
We’d have to build big segments of the truck, load them into the truck, and assemble the final product on site. With heavy rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, this did not seem very appealing. Besides that, we’d have to get up really early to have this thing ready for a 10:00 a.m. parade. Well, you do what you have to do, right? We did. Lucky for us, the post office was closed and we could use their garage for competing the float. We barely got it done it time, we got absolutely soaked moving it to the parade lineup area, and we joyfully paraded it through the streets of Fairfax.
Did I mention that we won the Independence Day Committee Award? Oh, and that we won Honorable Mention in the novelties category? We had a great time, enjoyed sharing our art with the community, and can’t wait to find out what next year’s parade theme will be so we can start planning.
Here’s the final result: