A lot of people are surprised when I say that we have balloon conventions all over the world. It's hard to believe that such a bonkers thing exists - but really it does, and I go to them often. Last November I was at the Millennium Jam in Belgium, in January at the Florida Superjam in Orlando, in February at the Twist and Shout balloon convention in Dallas, and in April at the World Balloon Convention in New Orleans. In July I'll be teaching at the Bling Bling Jam in Las Vegas.
The balloon conventions are just as amazing and exciting as you can imagine, with every different kind of person attending. From young men who juggle, fire eat and unicycle, to retired ladies who like to dress up as clowns at the weekend for a hobby, and everything in between. We are all so incredibly different, but united by the bond of a common love of balloons. There is a very unique atmosphere at our balloon conventions. Those that have come up with new ideas or techniques don't keep them to themselves, but delight in sharing with the rest of the community.
If you are a beginner, or there's something new you want to learn, there is always someone on hand to help. As well as classes on making balloons, we learn marketing techniques, how to run the business, how to entertain with balloons. There is also a jam room, which is filled with every shape, size and colour of balloon, usually sponsored by the balloon manufacturers, where the balloon artists can all play and create to their heart's content. This is usually where the most exciting sharing, learning and creativity takes place.
The greatest gift that balloon conventions have given me is the close friendships that I have made with other balloonists from all over the globe. We call it the Balloon Family. Our bonds of friendship are incredibly strong, our reunions joyful, our partings tearful. But we always know that the next balloon convention is only around the corner.