Extreme Balloon Trend Blows Up The Twin Cities Party Scene

By Rachel Hutton
StarTribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Rachel Hutton reports, “Like the cupcake before it, the balloon is a once-mundane party staple reinvented for the Pinterest and Instagram crowd. With the aid of digital influencers, its popularity is soaring.”

StarTribune (Minneapolis)

Balloons will always be a signifier of single-digit birthday parties, a playful tool for sculpting hair with static.

But thanks to social media, balloons now lend a posh, arty aesthetic to event decor, in addition to their classic, if slightly cheesy, cheerfulness.

Inflatable arrangements once simply arched over doorways at pep rallies and proms, or formed Santas and toy soldiers at holiday displays.

Today they cluster into garlands or cover ceilings in “clouds” at galleries and stadiums, weddings and galas, from Lincoln Center to the Calhoun Beach Club.

Giant strands of clustered balloons, often in various colors and sizes, snake across walls or along entryways.

These air-filled festoons, decor’s version of the statement necklace, add visual pop and celebratory swagger. And compared with many large-scale decorating options, they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

Like the cupcake before it, the balloon is a once-mundane party staple reinvented for the Pinterest and Instagram crowd. With the aid of digital influencers, its popularity is soaring.

When it comes to complex balloon installations, Carly Van Veldhuizen, head of Minneapolis-based Girl Friday Creative, is the go-to gal in the Twin Cities.

On a recent morning, Van Veldhuizen and her crew of four constructed a massive blue balloon garland at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center.

A four-nozzle balloon filler emitted a rush of air and a high-pitched whine as the Girl Friday crew filled the balloons, hand-tied them, and threaded them onto the growing garland.

Van Veldhuizen’s company is known for designing and fabricating one-of-a-kind installations for events, using unconventional materials such as coffee filters, recycled plastic straws or string. It created its first balloon installation about two years ago, at the behest of the Knot magazine. Its clients now include Target, Mall of America, Starkey Foundation and the Vikings.

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