Sitting down for a “balloon show,” the library audience probably expected hats, dogs, or snakes that could be taken home for a couple hours of enjoyment. What they got instead was an hour-long, comedic balloon performance that kept the kids laughing from start to finish. In place of miniature animals, they got full-size artistic creations and enough laughs to fill the entire room without a single “shush” from a librarian.
As part of the summer event series, the Youth Services at Homewood Public Library hosted a balloon entertainer for children and parents. “Magical Balloon-Dude Dale” is a balloon artist who combines fantastic balloon creations with comedy geared toward kids for a great family-friendly show. Dale Obrochta’s company, Balloonacation™, books performances in a number of area venues.
As music from classic children’s TV greeted the audience, Dale began the performance to a group comprised primarily of pre-K through 1st graders. A host of colorful balloons at the ready was little indication of what creations Dale might invent. The Magical Balloon-Dude will start with seemingly innocuous shapes, constantly asking the kids if they are happy with a simple snake or house, gradually adding more twists and turns until a completely unexpected object is created.
His first project started with a hat, which turned into a silly spiked hat, turned into a flower hat, turned into a peacock. The final result surprised not only the children, but all the parents as well, and the cheers indicated the show was off to a great start.
Dale’s balloon entertainment relies on audience participation and the kids were more than willing to volunteer. Every little hand in the audience raised and Dale made a show of walking around the crowd to pick one shy girl. She perked up in response to Dale’s antics and soon was helping blow balloons out of her ear (with device that looks like protective earmuffs).
Two parents were picked out of the crowd to help next. In a process that took several steps and a bit of Elvis-dancing, Dale had the two moms hold several balloons together while he twisted and tied every which way. Finally, the balloon was turned upside-down to reveal a life-size ballerina, to the surprise and delight of the whole audience. The entire show went off without a hitch, even including the audio technical difficulty that Dale played off with his stellar comedy.
The final balloons included a peacock, a dog, a ballerina, and a giant flower. That may seem like a small number for an hour-long event, but each balloon was practically life-size and took several minutes and several laughs to create. At the end of the event, audience members were given raffle tickets for the chance to win two of the balloon creations.
Balloon entertainment is just one of the summer youth events scheduled by the Homewood Library. The calendar of events is located at www.homewoodlibrary.org or a flyer can be picked up at the library front desk.
Later this month, HPL will host “Silly Song Sing-A-Long” at 6:30 p.m. on June 24.