You may remember playing the popular childhood game called "Candy Land." The game was full of "sweet" wonder and imagination! Recently, Stuart Davies, CBA, of Big Balloon Build, U.K., and a team of 65 balloon artisans from around the world brought the board game to life in Vincennes, Indiana. Like the board game, guests to the Candy Land Big Balloon Build followed the colorful squares to ultimately land at King Candy's Kastle!
This was the biggest, most amazing build ever! Not only the artists but also business owners and people of the community were involved in the build. The event was a great success because of this total involvement.
Stuart Davies, CBA - Producer of six Big Balloon Builds outside the U.S.
The idea for the Candy Land Build originated with Liz Romani, balloon artist and owner of Valley Party Supply, Indiana, U.S., nearly two years ago. She had seen the work of Davies and photos of other Big Balloon Builds and wanted to bring this fantastic undertaking to the United States.Qualatex, Hasbro, Hershey's Chocolate, and Premium Balloon Accessories sponsored the build. Davies recruited the game and candy maker after showcasing the project's purpose, what it might look like, and its benefactor, the United Way. Premium Balloon Accessories donated over $30,000 in inflation equipment. Once completed, the build was presented to the United Way for fundraising events, which raised over $130,000! In addition to the cash, 14,300 pounds of food were collected to support local food pantries. Over 5,000 people toured the Candy Land Big Balloon Build.
Pictured Above: Stuart Davies, CBA, and Liz Romani
Nobody could ever imagine what was unfolding in my city…and what happened was phenomenal. This was the biggest turnout for any community event ever, with lines stretching 600 feet for nine straight hours, a two-hour wait to get in the door. In addition, people traveled as much as 600 miles just to SEE the build.
Liz Romani, BBB Vincennes Host
Balloon Fashion Show
One of the most creative fundraising aspects was a balloon dress fashion show featuring community leaders.
Candy Land Characters
Using distortion techniques, incredible artistry, and unmatched dedication, teams recreated the popular characters of Candy Land. Check out the results compared to the figurines in each photo!
For Davies, the most challenging part of the build was also the most rewarding. Bringing 65 individual artists and business owners together to create a production team and create Candy Land was demanding, energizing, and inspiring. "It was amazing to see the teams develop, grow, bond, and to watch what is sure to be the development of lifelong friendships."
If you'd like to participate in an upcoming Big Balloon Build, you're in luck! The next build is scheduled for Kansas City, Missouri, in November, and one in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, next spring. Go here to get more information on our next Big Balloon Build!
The Big Balloon Build Experience: Q&A with Delegates
Balloon artist and owner, Valley Party Supply
Vincennes, Indiana, USA
Three Sparrows Balloon Studio
Peyton Westfall, CBA, & Darren Huffman
Pop Culture Sculptures
Kansas City, Missouri
What do you think are the main benefits for those who attend?
Liz: For one, I see such strong bonds of friendship being created and cemented between artists working together in their teams to add their sections to the overall design. Also, the results. Wow. When the children and the people came through, and we, as artists, get to see their expressions of wonder and surprise for the first time, it's a feeling that's hard to describe. In our world, we create something and drop it off. We never get to see the result of our customers enjoying what we make. Standing there as an artist, seeing their reactions was the ultimate payoff and is a feeling that's hard to describe.
Peyton & Darren: The benefits are immeasurable. From new techniques and time-saving hacks to confidence-building job delegations, team-building inflation processes, and gaining the support system of so many talented artists. You will truly see balloon installations on a larger scale than you can currently comprehend and take pride in being part of something bigger than your own business. Even with all these benefits, our favorite part has to be the adrenaline high you feel after completing the build! It must be what it feels like to win a Super Bowl or Olympic Team Medal for the intense companionship this creates and the bonds you form with other artists.
What was your favorite part of the BBB?
Liz: I absolutely LOVED the evening structure of The Big Balloon Build and how it was such a unique experience for the Builders. Every evening we had social dinners to wind down as a group and celebrate the day's wins and accomplishments. It was amazing to stick together as a group and further cement our friendships and bonds.
Jenny: Teamwork, friendship, and building a design on a massive scale. Plus seeing people come in once the build was complete being awed and shocked that what we created was all balloons!
What was the most challenging part?
Peyton & Darren: The most challenging part? Letting go of our business back at home felt like such a huge risk, but we were able to prove to ourselves that the only way to grow is to build a team. During this BBB, our team handled work at home in K.C. while we learned even more team-building skills and learned to trust delegations to trustworthy and talented folks!
Liz: I am so very proud of Qualatex and Premium Balloon accessories for partnering with Stuart to make a difference through the joy of balloons! This is truly social corporate responsibility at its finest, and I am so honored to have been the first Big Balloon Build location in the USA. I can't wait to see how this unfolds and continues to make a difference in other communities worldwide. I believe what Stuart has created here is a real-world impact on balloons and allows the public to SEE, TOUCH, and FEEL balloons' pure joy and power. I believe this is the way of the future and is a perfect platform for us, as artists, to educate our public. Thank you again, Qualatex, for being the champion for education and supporting this incredible platform for making a difference. Together we can change the world…one balloon at a time.
Jenny: Big Builds bring me so much joy! Every time one is announced, I try to figure out a way to join in!