Nearly 900 delegates attended the highly anticipated World Balloon Convention (WBC) 2018, held March 14-17, in San Diego, Calif. Hosted by Pioneer Balloon Company, the event showcased balloon artists and creations from across the globe with delegates representing 52 countries.

“We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response of the delegates,” said Ted Vlamis, president and CEO of Pioneer Balloon Company. “There is no other industry where the people have the same degree of passion for what they do.”

The education curriculum featured 55 classes, along with other activities including nine competitions, a Vendor Showcase, two Deco-Twisting Jams, and a CBA Exam that resulted in 25 new Certified Balloon Artists. WBC 2018 also hosted 100 children from the Greater San Diego Boys and Girls Club for balloon entertainment and a personalized tour through the sculpture gallery.

WBC 2018 Inflates Interest in Balloon Art
WBC 2018 Inflates Interest in Balloon Art

Delegates were greeted at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina by an ocean-themed balloon décor by Lily Tan, Myairitude, Singapore. Opening night welcome festivities featured fun-in-the-sun décor by Stuart Davies, CBA, Beyond Balloons, United Kingdom. The WBC traditional theme party, dubbed a “Beach Party,” showcased seaside décor by designer Federico Onida, CBA, Balloon Express Shop, Italy. The Red Carpet Grand Gala final awards banquet highlighted elegant décor by designer Olga Baranova, CBA, Balloon Studio, Russian Federation. The new Grand Gala After Party displayed sophisticated and modern club décor by Chris Adamo, CBA, Balloons Online, Australia. Tina Giunta, CBA, Shivoo Balloons, Australia, and Anne McGovern, CBA, Elegant Balloons, United States, designed unique centerpieces for the parties.

The balloon competitions featured sculptures in nine categories: Large Sculpture, Medium Sculpture, Picture Frame, Balloon Fashion and Costume, Centerpiece, Deliverable Sculpture and Bouquet, Balloon Column, Balloon Hat and Balloon Figure.

WBC 2018 Inflates Interest in Balloon Art
WBC 2018 Inflates Interest in Balloon Art

Three Master Awards were given: the new Twisting Wizard Award, presented to Daigo Sugata of Balloon Artist Daigo, Japan; the Emerging Artist Award, presented to Kanako Takahashi of Merryballoon, Japan; and the Master Designer Award, presented to Masako Nomura, CBA, FuwaFuwa Co. Ltd., Japan.
The 2018 Golden Light Award was presented to LaDonna Belcher, CBA, of Time to Party Promotions, United States, for her unwavering passion for the balloon industry and the people in it.

By Amanda Winter