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by Sheena Beaverson

IBAC 20 Wrap-Up

Larry at work in the BHQ office
Larry at work in the BHQ office.
Actually, he IS 
a rocket scientist.
Actually, he IS a rocket scientist.

This year's convention was most certainly a memorable one. The International Balloon Arts Convention (IBAC) relocated itself to sunny Anaheim, California on the Disneyland premises. BHQ coverage got off to a slow start. We all encountered travel difficulties, and then discovered that the dial-up connection from the hotel moved at a snail's pace. Our best option turned out to be a DSL wireless hot spot located outside the business center. So, we camped out in the hallway near the escalators on a bench which became known as 'the BHQ office'.

For attendees, things started off on a high note at the Opening Festivities, with decor designed by Troy Apprill (CBA). The field of helium balloons on balloon straws was very cool. It was hard to resist the impulse to run right through them like you would a field full of flowers. Instead, I had to content myself with standing close to the edge of the balloons and quietly shifting them until I was surrounded. The theme for the night was IBAC 20th Class Reunion. Speakers were introduced one by one, as pictures from their high school days were displayed on the screens. (Thanks to Brent Adams for providing us with those Quicktime IBAC Instructor morphs!)

The Wild Wild West party on Thursday night featured decor designed by Rob Stiff (CBA) and Judy Bradt (CBA). People are still talking about the cute bath tub at Asli's Bath House. The party was a lot of fun, with a tex-mex dinner menu, games (human horseshoes?), prizes for the best costumes, and plenty of time for dancing. But, who am I kidding, all that's really in my mind now is what happened at the Final Night Gala.

Our Hollywood Night started off with pictures and video clips from previous years of IBAC. Dinner was great, as always, and there was also a fun video tribute to the hard-working event producers and staff. The award winners were enthusiastically applauded, as the winning sculpture designers, new artists, and designers of the year received some well-deserved recognition. In the middle of it all, Rocky Toomey stole the show and shocked everyone by proposing marriage, right from the podium on stage. He got both a standing ovation and a 'yes' from his beloved. All the IBAC producers were shell-shocked (but delighted) for hours afterward. Congratulations Rocky and Terry!

IBAC 2004 Crystal Award Winner: BalloonHQ
Sheena Beaverson, Larry Moss (CBA), and Mark Balzer accept the IBAC 2004 Crystal Award for their work with BalloonHQ.
Then, Linda Bruce came on stage to present the Crystal Award. What happened after that is a bit of a blur. I got hugged by Wynn Bell and was congratulated by Dan Flynn, then we three made our way to the stage. Larry said something positive about the balloon community and some other good stuff (he sounded very calm), I talked about how wonderful it is to have friends in so many places around the world (at least I hope I did), then Mark took a cue from Rocky and proposed... that we three stay in business for another 12 years (he folded that box out of the dinner menu!). The rest of the night was great, getting hugs from everyone, dancing, and talking into the wee hours of the morning. What an honor, and how exciting. We are very, very proud to have received this award.

Mark, Larry, and I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for being part of BHQ. BalloonHQ is still on-line and flourishing because of the support we've received over the years from sponsors, members, list subscribers, volunteers, and contracted staff. To Debbie Piotrowski, John Barthelmes, Todd Neufeld, Jack Porcello, Marc Summers, Dennis Dawson, Terrie Basko, David Graves, Jacob Levine, Wayne Lampel, Richard Williams and many others... thank you for helping out along the way.

Also, thanks to the sponsors of our 2004 online event coverage. This year's sponsors have been TK Innovations, Bomba Insurance, Glue Dots International, MSR Wholesale, and Qualatex.

We are already looking forward to IBAC 21. Don't forget, the IBAC team will be accepting your input for deciding dates and the venue for the 2005 convention. See www.ibaconline.com for details starting May 10, 2004.

Featured Artists: Southern California QBN Chapter

Balloon decor in 
Downtown Disney
Balloon decor placement in Downtown Disney.
The traditional IBAC atrium sculpture was replaced this year by balloon decor integrated throughout Downtown Disney. Decor was constructed by volunteers from the Southern California QBN Chapter. The team was headed up by Linda Soto, CBA.

Participants started building decor elements on the Thursday before the convention started, and began placing sculptures around the public areas 8 days later on Friday morning. They worked many hours to create three versions of each sculpture, in order to refresh balloon decor over the following days.

Colorful 3-foot balloons were displayed atop each lamp post in Downtown Disney, to compliment the round balloon sculptures placed throughout the public spaces. Team members even spent an evening twisting simple balloon sculptures for the park guests.
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