The BalloonTown USA Years

2004 to 2007 - Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Before there was FLOAT, there were the BalloonTown USA Projects. These large scale group builds eventually led to the formation of what FLOAT now is today. Take a minute and review the photos of these past efforts, but don't let the page view fool you; there are 40 different photos in all!

2004 - Here we go….
2004 - Here we go….

FLOAT actually began in 2004 as the BalloonTown USA Project. In the course of this first year, 18,000 balloons were used to create a walk-through haunted house. We also learned to NEVER load in like this again!

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2005 - An Aquatic Overview
2005 - An Aquatic Overview

Everything about BTU grew in 2005. The team expanded, we increased to 40,000 balloons and we relocated to the gymnasium at St. Rita, a school for deaf children. What better audience for such visual imagery?

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2006 - The Floatin' Farm
2006 - The Floatin' Farm

In 2006, the project grew again, this time to a crew of over 30 people and just under 60,000 balloons used. St. Rita hosted the event once again, much to the delight of the students, families and supporters. This sculpture was significant because nearly every member of the crew has some sort of input as to how this tractor and scene took place. Talk about a true team effort!

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2007 - Welcome to Balloonalot
2007 - Welcome to Balloonalot

And yes, it was A LOT! In what would be the final year for BTU, it was the biggest effort yet. 140,000 balloons were used, an international crew of over 60 balloon artists constructed it and we expanded to an abandoned department store in a local mall.

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2004 - Welcome to Balloonsylvania
2004 - Welcome to Balloonsylvania

Visitors at the very first BTU were greeted at the gate by the gothic looking lighted gate. And in the distance, the caretaker, Jasper, tries to light your way...

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2005 - The Search for Princess Pearl
2005 - The Search for Princess Pearl

The basic plot behind the 2005 BTU Project was that Princess Pearl, a beautiful mermaid, was missing and you had to help find her. Before the event began, a promotional sculpture of Pearl was created and staged in the lobby at St. Rita in an effort to draw attention to the event.

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2006 - Setting the Stage
2006 - Setting the Stage

In an effort to be as organized as possible, bases and columns were marked and dropped into place almost immediately when first loaded into the venue. Spaces were left open, however, so that team members could pass back and forth between sections without having to walk the entire labyrinth of layout.

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2007 - Enter the Dragon
2007 - Enter the Dragon

The mission on BTU 2007 was for you to defeat the dragon…so meet the dragon! This design, created by Guido Verhoef, CBA, was the perfect climax to the event.

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2004 - Larger than Life
2004 - Larger than Life

The first installment of BTU featured several iconic monsters, including what would become a child-friendly version of Frankenstein. But don't let the photo fool you too much; while Frank is big, Mandy only stands 4'10" in real life!

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2005 - Who Lives in a Pineapple?
2005 - Who Lives in a Pineapple?

As part of the under-the-sea elements of the 2005 BTU event, we just couldn't resist featuring these two familiar faces. They ended up being the single most photographed element of the entire event!

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2006 - Pig in a Poke
2006 - Pig in a Poke

Each year, the BTU Project was intended to serve as a fund-raiser for community charities. In 2006, our "pig pen" created over 100 piglets that people could take home with them for a small donation.

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2007 - The Fantasy Forest
2007 - The Fantasy Forest

Without a doubt, this particular portion of Balloonalot had a huge impact on visitors. Our "Fantasy Forest" featured cute creatures and a "nursery" where baby dragons were "hatched" for visitors to take home for a small donation.

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