Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Best Ballooning Moments.

Wow, what an amazing "ballooning" year 2017 was! 

Probably one of the most significant milestones was Pioneer® Balloon Company celebrating 100 years in business, which culminated in September with a whole weekend of celebrations and parties held at the Worldwide Headquarters and the Wichita Country Club.

Qualatex celebrates 100 years
Fabulous party decor designed and created by Edward Muñoz, CBA,
Silvia Santos, CBA and Eve Antonello, 

Qualatex World TourTo celebrate Pioneer's 100 years, Qualatex® hit the road with a rock star lineup of awesome instructors, offered brand new classes and gave delegates exciting networking opportunities with the Qualatex World Tour!  The Tour had sixty-nine stops around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Europe, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Latin America, South Africa and South Asia!
Qualatex World Tour

Qualatex Mystery Box Competition
Mike Hurst, CBA and, Aimee Smith won the
UK Mystery Box

A Mystery Box competition was held at each location where contestants were given a box of balloons to create an innovative, eye-catching design in the span of only 30 minutes. They could compete as an individual contestant or as teams of two. The top entry of each stop on the tour received a prize and advanced to compete with the winners of all the other tour stops. A grand prize will be awarded to the world champion. 

I asked members of the QBN Facebook Group if they would like to share any of their best 2017 "Ballooning Moments!"

Tony Davey, CBA — "My best ballooning moment was being a late entry (following a cancellation) into the mystery box competition at the UK stop of the Qualatex World Tour, and being runner-up with Heydi Alvarado. That gave me the confidence to believe I could do more, to start the QBN process and (ultimately) become a CBA in the same year. The event was also a great networking opportunity and I’ve stayed in touch with many people I met."

Randy Harbin CBA "For me, the best of 2017 was meeting my team of helpers 10 minutes prior to the start of the sculpture competition at Ballooniversity, and still taking home the title, 'Designer of the Year!'"

Black Sabbath Tour - Balloons by Matt Lewis

For Matt JB Lewis, CBA. "It was creating the Balloon drops for the UK leg of the 'Black Sabbath —The End' tour. Matt called upon the help of a number of balloon artists to assist him: a number who have also said that this was one of their best 2017 ballooning moments!
Stuart Davies, CBA  "It was such an awesome experience helping Matt on the last one!"
Sandra Mckeon, CBA —  "One of my best bits of 2017 was working with Matt JB Lewis on the Black Sabbath Tour in Dublin, seeing a huge drop come together, and the reaction of the crowd!!"
Matt Lewis with Mike Harris and Black Sabbath.
Zahraa Jawad, CBA — "My best ballooning moments of 2017 were many. First I met Fiona Fisher where I attended her wedding classes. It was so fruitful and inspiring for my business. Then, I attended the Qualatex World Tour-Dubai, and became a CBA on that same event and won the mystery box competition, too." 🎈

Balloon Clouds by Bubblegum Balloons
Balloon Cloud by Bubblegum Balloons

Claire Jackson of Bubblegum Balloons "We have had the most exciting year, including moving into a new 7000 sq. ft. premises and trips to Dublin, Berlin, and Canada." They also created 289 sq.m balloon cloud!

Saskia Hurtares, CBA "My 'Best Balloon Moment' in 2017 started when I won the 2017 Qualatex World Tour Mystery Box Competition in New York City.  After I won, people started following me on social media networks and asking for online balloon decoration courses, so this inspired me to become the instructor of my own online course.  I created the private group 'GloboVip Members' on Facebook, and it has been one of my best accomplishments of 2017. I am now competing with all the winners of the 2017 Qualatex World Tour in hopes that I win the Grand Prize: Full-Access to the 2018 World Balloon Convention.
I am proud to be Ecuadorian from a city called Portoviejo. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to participate in competitions like these and win. For me, this has opened doors to many opportunities. I thank Pioneer Balloon Company for their QBN program, which taught me the principles and elements of balloon design.  Thanks to that knowledge, my design qualified as the winner."

Isaiah O'Connor, CBA, — "For me, I had two moments. The biggest one was being able to afford to move into an office. Seeing my business name Ballong Event Byrå, up on the wall was amazing. The other cool thing was having my glitter heart instruction video go viral."

Pam Pearce, CBA "Our best ballooning moments of 2017 has to be going to the various balloon events that have taken place in the UK this year. Even after 27 years in the balloon industry, we can still always gain something, even if it's just how much we all care about and support each other."
Design by Mike Hurst - Reds
Mike Hurst, CBA —  "So many to mention. The Sabbath gig with Matt was just incredible.  Teaching my personalisation course in Israel was an experience I'll never forget. Launching my Quick Link numbers class was a proud moment, and then having the pleasure of your (Sue Bowler's) company in the shop for a day was an absolute treat. Decorating the GOSH Christmas party was so much fun, and our shop going from strength to strength is very pleasing. And being involved in content creation for is awesome. But, there's one moment that I'm particularly chuffed about, which was when Pioneer Europe Ltd (Qualatex Direct) asked me to create a 'Recipe of the Month' for QBN members. I received some great feedback from this and got a massive buzz from the whole experience."

Stuart Davies, CBA — "Walt Disney International - LONDON PRIDE 2017. This will be up there close to the top of my best moments for several reasons. Firstly, it came from a business colleague that I have been working with for some time, and I love seeing how partnerships like this develop. Secondly, working with several amazing teams, including staff from Pioneer Europe as well as Walt Disney. Thirdly, because Disney allowed me to march with them, it was one of the most emotional days I have ever known.
Disney London Pride - balloons by Stuart Davies, CBA

Qualatex US — Balloon Images — I was invited to be a Guest Designer for the Christmas Design Inspiration article in the Summer. This was such an amazing honour, as it's a phenomenal magazine, and one of the first things I ever read when I first came into the balloon world! :)
In a year full of WOWS — the conversation that told me that I had been chosen as one of the designers for the World Balloon Convention in San Diego in 2018 really blew my socks off!

And finally, being selected as a Qualatex Instructor. Late this Summer, I was invited to attend the Qualatex 'Train the Trainer' course at Pioneer Europe HQ. As part of my training, I shadowed Qualatex Instructors on some of their courses. I then attended the European Qualatex Instructors Meeting, where I was in a room with so many people I had looked up to and learned from in the last few years. It is not often that I feel overawed, I think I had a big inane grin on my face all day!"

Black & White Balloon decor by Sue Bowler CBA

2017 has certainly been a great year for many, including myself. I have had so many fabulous ballooning moments this year. I visited India, Dubai, Belgium, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, Italy, Australia, USA, and Sweden to teach at balloon events, met friends - new and old - and worked with some truly fabulous balloon artists. I also had the honour to design and decorate one of the Pioneer 100 Year celebration parties earlier this year, and for me it was such an amazing opportunity and privilege.

A huge thank you to all those who contributed to this post and shared your stories. I am sure that many of you have some wonderful 2017 ballooning memories, too! 

Happy Ballooning & Season's Greetings to you all!




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