Balloon Certifications, Organizations and Conventions

Balloon Organizations
The Balloon Council
Balloon HQ Membership
Indiana Balloon Network
National Association of Balloon Artists (NABA)
Surprise Balloon Company (Germany)
Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN)
TWISTER (Netherlands)

Balloon Certifications
Certified Balloon Artist (CBA)
NABA Certified Master Balloon Artist

Balloon Conventions and Workshops
Alberta/ Canadian Balloon Expo
All Star Revue
Ballooniversity
Balloonorama
California Balloon Conference
Conwin's Balloon Artist Academy
Eastern States Balloon Symposium (ESBS)
Euro Jam
European Balloon Symposium (EBS)
International Balloon Arts Conference (IBAC)
Millennium Jam
National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers (NABAS)
National Halloween, Costume & Party Show
Private Lessons
Summer Camp
TJam/ Twist and Shout
TMyers: Tours and Workshops
The Ultimate Balloon School (TUBS)

Other Organizations, Conventions and Workshops (which feature balloons)
Clowns of America International (COAI)
International Juggling Association (IJA)
Texas Clown Association Annual Convention
Western Region Clown Association (WRCA) Annual Convention
World Clown Association (WCA) Annual Convention

Balloon Competitions, Contests and Awards
Balloon HQ International Balloon Contest
International Balloon Arts Conference (IBAC)
The Millennium Jam Competition
T"Jam/ Twist and Shout
World Clown Association (WCA) Balloon Competition

Balloon Organizations

The Balloon Council

The (United States) Balloon Council is based Washington DC; Pioneer's Dan Flynn is chairman of the council. This is a lobbying group formed to counter the propaganda about balloon releases being harmful to sea turtles, whales, birds, the environment, and so on.... They offer a Retailer Kit that has a fabulous nine page brochure about balloons and the environment. In it you will find excellent information and evidence about biodegradation, sea animals, balloon releases and the environment. There are also sample letters that you can send to newspapers in response to claims that balloons are bad for the environment. The council relies on both commissioned and independent studies when claiming that balloons are digested by animals and passed naturally.

The articles include:

  1. Balloons and the Environment
  2. Balloon Litter: Real Problem or Hot Air
  3. Releases: Fact or Fiction
  4. Balloons and Sea Animals

Write for this brochure/ Retail Kit at:
Balloon Council
512 11th Street, SE
Washington DC 20003
phone: (202)544-0967
fax: (202)544-0966

Or e-mail Patricia Bario, Balloon Council Public Information Officer: pbario@crosslink.net

Balloon HQ Membership

Become a member of Balloon HQ and get the follow additional services for balloon artists: You can now take advantage of your own BalloonHQ.com address so that you can look more professional to your clients without giving up the services and software you already use. With this service you'll get an e-mail address and a web address that represent the professional community you belong to. For example, an imaginary person with the name Joe Balloonist that uses AOL can now get an e-mail address of the form Joe_Balloonist@BalloonHQ.com and a web site address of http://www.balloonhq.com/artists/Joe_Balloonist that can be used on business cards and other promotional material. An address like that has much more meaningthan joe396@aol.com. However, Joe will still be able to read his mail using thesame software he already uses through AOL without changing anything on his end. Balloon HQ will transparently forward everything to his AOL account.

For more information, check out the Balloon HQ Member Services page.

Indiana Balloon Network

Indiana Balloon Network was established in the early 90s and now has members in IN, IL, OH, KY, and MI. They hold an annual two day workshop and meetings in Indiana on the first Tuesday of each month. For more information about The Indiana Balloon Network you can contact

Denise Fassnaucht, CBA
765-268-2349
AwesomeDPF@aol.com

or

Nancy Dicks
317-335-2464
nancydicks@awesomeoccasions.com

Surprise Balloon Company

The Surprise Balloon Company in Germany was founded "To promote the art and craft of balloon sculpting in Europe". It is for twisters to come together, work together, learn together, etc. Their first convention was the European Balloon Modelling Meeting, where 70 Twisters from different European Countries come together for three days. The second convention, was Euro jam `99.

Surprise Balloon Company
Rudiger Paulsen, Hartmut Krenz, Cordula Blomer
Bahnhofstr.90
33829 Borgholzhausen
Germany
fon 05425/6551
fax 05425/7549
email ruepaul@t-online.de

National Association of Balloon Artists (NABA)

The National Association of Balloon Artists, NABA, was an organization aimed at people with balloon decorator businesses. They published a number of books and magazines dealing with balloons.

View a couple magazine ads for NABA from the late 80's.

For those new to the industry, NABA was formed some years ago to try and be an independent group. It started out strong enough with a newsletter (Link-line) membership directory, yearly convention, certification and more (sound familiar gang??!!). It was created and run by Festivities Publications who still produce conventions (now under the name of JUBILEE!) and still publish trade magazines for our industry (the original Balloons and Parties, The Party Shopper, and others). The group had well over 1,000 paid members who were located throughout the world (still sound familiar??!!). NABA had alliances with a number of manufacturers and suppliers... snd then the group seemed to disband as quickly and quietly as it had formed.

TWISTER

TWISTER is a balloon artists organization in the Netherlands.

Dutch Balloon Twisting Society
Guido J.P.M. Claassen
Meeuwstraat 96
1444 VH Purmerend
Netherlands
fon +31 299433655

Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN)

QBN Program & Benefits

The QBN unites and supports businesses that offer value-added balloon designs featuring Qualatex products. QBN Business Members are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in balloon decor and bouquets. In addition to the comprehensive training, QBN Members:

Visit Qualatex Balloon Network on Qualatex.com to learn how you can join the QBN, and start selling more balloons and making more money!

QBN Curriculum The QBN educational curriculum includes a series of five videotapes and correspondence exams with topics ranging from the principles of design and employee training to the business side of balloons. The videos and exams can be reviewed and completed at your own pace.

Vol. 1: Mastering the Basics
Vol. II: The Art of Balloon Arrangements
Vol. III: A Foundation for Balloon Decor
Vol. IV: Strategies for Balloon Delivery
Vol. V: The Business Side of Balloons

Learn more about the QBN and the related Certified Balloon Artist (CBA) designation.


Balloon Certifications

Certified Balloon Artist (CBA)

Certified Balloon Artist (CBA) Certification Program

CBAs are people who work for a Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN) Business Member and have successfully completed the program's written tests, as well as the CBA Practical Examination to demonstrate their knowledge of the QBN curriculum and ability to produce quality balloon work. By becoming a CBA, you will:

Learn more about the CBA program at Certified Balloon Artist FAQs on Qualatex.com.

Testimonials from BHQ users:

Yes, I have my CBA and it has helped me tremendously in the decorating portion of my business. As a twister, it has helped me only very little (color wheel and color theory was good).

What gives the CBA certification value for me is the full color brochures that a CBA can buy and a non-CBA can not. The QBN is about selling more balloons and making more money. Professional looking promotion does a much better job of that than just the CBA title could ever do.

CBA Testing isn't a 'piece of cake.' Study the curriculum. Come prepared, havingpracticed and timed yourself for the pieces you have to create on the day. Apply the P & E of Design to the pieces you are to create. Know your knots.Do you understand ALL of tape #5? If not, seek advise before you sit the test. Relax and stay calm. The panelists and other officials will do everything they can to help you relax and enjoy the experience. They are all your friends and peers from Canada, USA, Japan,Australia, UK, Mexico... all strangers to each other, yet cousins within the international balloon family. They seem to rally together for support and encouragement. Get plenty of sleep the night before and be at the test site 20 minutes early.

Learn more about the QBN and the related Certified Balloon Artist (CBA) designation.

NABA Certified Master Balloon Artist

Certification obtained (available several years ago) through testing given by NABA. To become a certified balloon decorating professional by NABA, you needed to attend one of their national conventions and complete three requirements
  1. Take a 100 question written exam.
  2. Submit a portfolio of your work for judging.
  3. Create a balloon sculpture in one of these categories: centerpiece, small sculpture (under 6'), delivery, or large sculpture.

I still use things I had to memorize to pass the test, how many balloons per foot, how many CF of helium each size of balloon takes, etc. Even though their are many reference charts around, being forced to memorize them has been a big asset to me.


Balloon Conventions and Workshops

For an up-to-date listing of current balloon events for twisters and decorators, please refer to the Balloon HQ Upcoming Events listing. What follows is some information about annual or recurring balloon events.

Alberta/ Canadian Balloon Expo

The Alberta Balloon Expo in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. An event organized by Max and Kelly Falardeau from the Balloon Gang. CBA testing, networking mixers, classes, competition (centerpiece, delivery bouquet, portfolio, sculpture & Canadian Balloon Designer of the Year Award), theme party, and Canadian Balloon Designer of the Year.

They have lots of hands-on classes in 260 twisting, beginner basics, dance floor canopies, large sculpture, and centerpieces. There are also be classes on pricing for profit, 260Q mini-sculptures, wedding decor, balloons & flowers in decor and centerpieces, marketing and more.

Phone: (403) 414-0597
fax (403) 414-0598
kwoodhouse@edma.avc.calgary.ab.ca

All Star Revue

The All Star Revue is an educational seminar for balloon, party and event professionals, being held November in New Jersey. Please call 1-888-833-STAR for information and class schedule.

Ballooniversity

Flowers Inc. Balloons holds Ballooniversity every July in Athens, GA. Ballooniversity is a three-day 'Balloon School' which brings everyone from party and bridal owners to balloon decorators and clowns and twisters from all over the world for learning, laughter, fun and networking. It is an excellent convention and the price is very reasonable. A lot of the instructors who have taught at IBAC and or Jubilee teach there.

Whether you're a beginner or have been working with balloons for years, don't miss this opportunity to learn new skills and expand on your current abilities - - all while having a great time! For more information call 1-800-241-2094

Balloonorama

Balloonorama is a a two day intensive balloon event held in Phoenix the weekend before Superbowl in January.

California Balloon Conference

California Balloon Conference, held in August in Irvine Ca. and hosted by All American Balloon Supply in Santa Ana. Call Matt McKinney at 800-927-9778 for more detail.

Conwin's Balloon Artist Academy

Conwin periodically hosts seminars by top instructors. Classes are held at Conwin's Balloon Artist Academy. Printed Schedules available upon request.

4510 Sperry Street
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(800)877-8889
(213) 245-2842

Eastern States Balloon Symposium (ESBS)

Eastern States Balloon Symposium (ESBS) in held in Pennsylvania on the University University campus. The facility has large rooms, perfect for hands-on classes with plenty of room for our group to spread out and get creative. Come to learn and share your balloon experience and knowledge.

European Balloon Symposium (EBS)

The European Balloon Symposium is sponsored by Pioneer Europe. In 1996, 250 balloonatics from all over the world gathered at the Concorde La Fayette Hotel in Central Paris for 3 days of balloons. All twisters gathered around Marvin Hardy and his 4 lectures. He did a basic lecture, a weaving lecture, advanced sculptures and a GEO blossom and donut lecture. Marvin presented lots of valuable material for both twisters and decorators.

Euro Jam

The Surprise Balloon Company in Germany holds the was Euro jam.

International Balloon Arts Conference (IBAC)

IBAC is an annual convention consisting of five days of educational classes, competitions, gala events, and networking opportunities. "The focus of IBAC is education, and learning happens everywhere, not just inside the classrooms," said Don Cheeseman, IBAC producer. "Everyone involved,including the producers, learns at least one new thing each year they can take home and use to make more money in their businesses."

In addition to offering over 50 classes, there are numerous hands-on workshops, parties, networking opportunities, parties, competition (compete yourself or pitch in to help a competitor), parties... you get the idea!! Although somewhat costly, it is well worth it... in fact, if you are serious about the success of your business, you can't afford NOT to go. One bonus is that it typically runs concurrently with The National Halloween, Costume and Party Show. If you can only attend one convention IBAC is the one you NEED to go to. Be sure to arrive EARLY... Sunday or Monday morning at the latest, as this is when the lobby sculptures are created and the competitors start their pieces. Fully registered attendees are qualified to volunteer to help construct these sculptures.

To be an official registered delegate, you must purchase at least one class. When you buy a class, you're able to walk around IBAC, network with delegates, and view the sculptures. If you wish to enter competitions (or volunteer to help construct competition pieces) at IBAC .... then you MUST be staying at the main hotel (when held in Chicago, this is the Hyatt Regency Hotel near O'Hare airport) and be registered for the full package.

The Festival of Balloons is held on Sunday of IBAC. The Festival of Balloons is the Public and Media viewing day. People from all over are invited to view the competition sculptures and visit with the Twisters. IBAC invites twisters of ALL skill and experience levels to twist at the Festival. All 260Q balloons are provided. The Festival is from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The Twister shift is 10:30 - 3:30. All Twisters must be registered delegates. IBAC will provide a sign with your name on it for your station. Twisters are encouraged to bring a menu of the BASIC sculptures they make. After the Festival, everyone goes to lunch together.

IBAC also has a scheduled Balloon Twisting Jam Session. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Participants will have up to 5 minutes to show or share something so it will be fast-paced and fun. There will be rewards for everyone who shares, and special drawings for those who participate. This jam session is a special "free class" for all registered IBAC delegates.

The International Balloon Arts Convention is a corporation totally independent from Pioneer Balloon Company. IBAC is owned, operated and produced by four individuals who not employeed by Pioneer. IBAC is proud to have Pioneer Balloon Co. as the major corporate sponsor for the annual event.

For more information about the International Balloon Arts Conference, visit IBAC Online.

The Millennium Jam

The Millennium Jam (TMJ) is a three day event in June in Belgium. The Millennium Jam for balloon entertainers where as many different aspects and techniques to work with modeling balloons will be shown and promoted: The whole range of modeling balloons will be used: the pencil balloons, Beebodies, airships, hearts, donuts and blossoms and even 5" ,9" and 11" rounds. Visit our Sale Booth for more. Next to the workshops,the jam sessions will be the most important creative activity at TM. The jam sessions will take place from 8:30 in the morning till veeryyy late in the evening. A big room is booked for this core activity to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to participate. The instructors will jam and experiment with you to show things that couldn't be made during the workshops and of course ... to learn from you. The Millennium Jam will also feature a Balloon Modeling Competition.

National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers (NABAS)

The National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers holds an annual balloon convention in England.

National Halloween, Costume & Party Show

This massive trade show is great. Register early and study the information booklets and maps that the promoters mail to you beforehand. Many of the major manufacturers of balloons and balloon-related productsion from around the world will be there to give you samples and direct you to their nearest distributor in your country. Be prepared... you will see so many new products that you will be tempted to order everything. Many of the manufacturers offer instructors for workshops at the Party Show. Spend some time on planning your trade show experience. Otherwise you won't get through it all. The convention center is divided into two main areas, for the Party and Halloween sides of the show.

Private Lessons

If you are impressed with someone's work, be it from videos, books, BalloonHQ or watching them, you might approach them about private lessons. Many top instructors are willing to offer this service. Some of today's top instructions also offer classes or workshops in their local area. You can look for balloon artists in your area in the artist directory

Summer Camp

Las Vegas, NV is the place for this event. Held in August by Balloon Supply & Design House and several other balloon distributors in the western US. This convention offers an interesting mix of decorating, twisting, and entertaining with a heavy emphasis on having fun while learning. Summer Camp

TJam/ Twist and Shout

The major US event for twisters is held each year in February by a company related to the balloon business. Tom Myers in Texas (T"Jam) or Patty and Royal Sorell in Massachusetts (Twist and Shout) have hosted the event in the past.. Reguardless of the location, the event is co-hosted by Balloon HQ and advertised primarily on the internet. Three days of workshops, a chaotic banquet, and a very impressive competition are held. People generally arrive at the hotel 1-2 days early (or more!) to begin jamming. The history chapter of the Guide has a lot of information about the first US Twisters Convention.

Get more information and see photos from T"Jam 1999 and Twist and Shout 2000

TMyers: Tours and Workshops

From time to time Tom Meyers hits the open road, traveling a set route and teaching introductory balloon twisting classes at pre-arranged locations. Since 1985, he's done hundreds of workshops all over the country. His "Theory of The Fully Inflated Balloon" approach to promotion and his "Make the Kid the Star" approach to entertainment has led many an entertainer down the path to extra income.

If you've never been to a lecture by Tom Myers, you should go for the following reasons:

  1. If you ever have taught (or might teach) ballooning to a group of people, this is the guy to watch. His presentation is so clear that he had most everybody doing some really cool balloon work before the night was over. We didn't get into pop twists, but we did talk about balloon seeds, so I think he brought those people some intermediate stuff on their first night of balloon work.
  2. You get to look at all the stuff he sells. Boxes of books, bags of balloons, pumps and assorted gadgets for balloon work.
  3. You support an organization in your area that is trying to improve the art of balloon twisting. (because Tom looks for local 'sponsors' to help with location issues at each lecture point.)
I would have liked to see more advanced balloon stuff, but I enjoyed and liked watching Tom do the "Myer's" stuff. You get a better feel for something while it is being created in front of you, rather than when you read directions in print.

The Ultimate Balloons Schoole (TUBS)

Spend one, two, or three days or more with Marvin and Penny Hardy in an intensive, hands-on balloon workshop. Visit the Balloon Magic web site for more information about learning from Marvin Hardy.

Day One: Balloon figures with non-round balloons including the 160Q, 260Q, the 321Q, the 350Q, the 6" Heart, the 6 inch Geo Blossom and the 16" Geo Donut. Promotion and pricing will be discussed throughout the day. Instruction will include single, multiple, and combined balloon figures, and will progress as rapidly as participants are able.

Day Two: Large scale balloon sculpture with the 160Q, the 260Q, and the 350Q. Instruction will cover the four specific weaving techniques used to create the Top-hat, the Easter Basket, the Christmas Tree, the Golf Cart, Bag and Clubs. the Champagne Bottle and Glass and articles of clothing, Wall murals, and unique shapes such as Automobiles, and will progress as rapidly as participants are able. Promotion and pricing will be discussed throughout the day. Day Three: Round balloon decor. Instruction will cover Classic Decor and will include arches and swags, columns, canopies, large scale sculptures including the Bride and Groom, framing, and table centerpieces. Job costing, promotion, and bidding will be discussed. This workshop will help to prepare participants for the Qualatex Balloon Network CBA qualification. Instruction will progress as rapidly as participants are able.

"The Ultimate Balloon School"
2735 North Country Club Drive
Provo, Utah 84604-3833
(801) 377-0878 FAX: (801) 377-0848


Other Organizations, Conventions and Workshops (which feature balloons)

Clowns of America International (COAI)

Clowns of America International holds an annual convention in April. They have competition and classes in balloon sculpture as well as in other areas of clowning. COAI regional conventions are held throughout the US at many different times and locations; regional rules for competitions may vary. The national convention each April has very specific balloon competition rules. To contact them, call or write:

Current President (until July 1, 2002): Cheri Venturi
Business Manager: Shirley Long
COAI Business Office
P O Box CLOWN
Richeyville, PA 15358-0532
1-888-52CLOWN
www.coai.org

International Juggling Association (IJA)

The International Juggling Association's annual convention usually has a big balloon jam.

Texas Clown Association

The Texas Clown Association holds an annual convention in October. They usually include some balloon twisting classes/workshops and some balloon twister competitions (single balloon and multiple balloon).

Western Region Clown Association (WRCA)

The Western Region Clown Association usually holds a convention in November, in Laughlin, Nevada. They usually include some balloon twisting classes/workshops.

World Clown Association (WCA)

The World Clown Association annual convention features balloon sculpture competition and classes, as well as classes in other areas of clowning. Our emphasis is clown education and ethics. We publish a monthly magazine called, "Clowing Around" which features articles written by our board of directors as well as guest columnists. If anyone wishes to submit an article of place an advertisement, please contact us (ask to speak with the editor). The World Clown Association Office, con be contacted at

WCA Administrative Office
418 South Sixth St.
Pekin IL, 61554
1-800-336-7922


Balloon Competitions, Contests and Awards

Balloon HQ International Balloon Contests

Any Balloon HQ sponsor is welcome to showcase their company and products by co-hosting a Balloon HQ Contest. Balloon HQ coordinators will work to identify an appropriate contest theme and prize structure. Past contest themes have included Flowers, Wedding Centerpieces, Birthday Centerpieces, Human figures, and 'Anything goes'. Contests are promoted during the entry period (generally one to two months); voting is conducted online for the period of one month.

Photos may be submitted digitally in JPEG or GIF format. Email digital submissions to contest@balloonhq.com. Digital images sent by postal (snail) mail must be on 1.44 MB floppy disk or CD-ROM. If you chose to send something on some other media type, we may not be able to process your entry. (Feel free to write to the contest address above if you have questions about other media.) Mailed entries must be received (not postmarked) by the contest deadline.

See the Balloon HQ Contest Page for more details.

International Balloon Arts Convention (IBAC) Awards

For up-to-date information about Competing at IBAC, and to view photos of winning entries from previous years, visit the IBAC Online.

Design Competitions
The traditional design competitions include: Large Sculpture, Table Centerpiece, Buffet Arrangement, Non-Round Balloon Sculpture, Balloon Figure and Balloon Busker. First, second and third place winners are announced for all categories.

Designer of the Year
To attain Designer of the Year stature, an IBAC competitor must enter all three of the Large Sculpture, Table Centerpiece, and Buffet Arrangement competitions. The winner is chosen on the basis of cumulative points from all three competitions. The Designer of the Year is awarded one free registration to the following year's event, one free round-trip airfare in the continental US, a trophy, donated prizes, and will receive recognition in Balloon Images magazine.

New Artist of the Year
Enter the Large Sculpture competition for the first time and be eligible for New Artist of the Year.

IBAC Entertainer of the Year
The winner of this IBAC award is chosen on the basis of the most accumulated points from the Balloon Figure, Balloon Busker, and Non-Round Balloon Sculpture competitions. Winners received trophies and cash prizes, and will be recognized in Balloon Images magazine.

Crystal Award
The Crystal Award is presented to individuals or companies who actively advance the industry through innovation, skill, and dedication. The award is a 12-inch, three-sided, solid crystal pyramid.

The Millennium Jam Competition

These are the rules : The Millennium Jam features three competition categories : The jury will consist of a panel of six instructors that will be appointed by IBS. The balloon creations will be judged on creativity, originality and technical level. The category winner is the twister whose creation has received the most points. In each category, a first, second and third prize will be awarded. The title "European Balloon Entertainer of the Year" will be awarded to the twister that competed in all three categories and received the most points in total.

T"Jam/ Twist and Shout

There are three competition categories for these events... Small, Medium, and Large Sculptures. The small and medium entries have size constraints defined by a set box size. If you can fit it in the box, it can be enetered in that category... the Large Sculpture size contraint if you can get it into the room through the double doors. The T & Jam (Twist and Shout) Top Twister award is given to the person who receives the highest cumulative number of votes in all three categories.

Get more information and see photos from T"Jam 1999 and Twist and Shout 2000

World Clown Association (WCA) Balloon Competition

There are two balloon competition areas: NOVICE and MASTERS. Contestants who have won a 1st place in this category at a WCA convention, have written a book on balloon technique, or earn a substantial amount of their income from balloons must enter the Masters Balloon Competition. Everyone else is eligible to enter the Novice Balloon Competition. A total time of 1 hour will be allowed. The time can be used/spread out however the contestant desires. There are four sculptures to make. In order to compete, contestants must submit an entry in each of the following four categories:
  1. Single: Single must be able to be defined as a "pencil" balloon, i.e. 130, 245, 260, or 280.
  2. Multiple: All balloons used must be the same size.
  3. Large: All balloons used must be the same size AND type, and at least 3 inches. i.e. if you use a 321, then ALL balloons used must be 321's.
  4. Specialty: Anything goes. Artwork, glue, glue gun, stick-on eyes, etc.

Special Notations

  1. With the exception of Specialty Balloon, no artwork is allowed prior to the judging.
  2. Contestants may add artwork to their entries after the judging if they desire, before the entries are displayed to the public.
  3. Preprinted balloons WILL be allowed provided they're commercially available to all contestants on the open market.

LM
SKB 3/3/96
SKB 3/8/96
LM 1/29/97
SKB 3/10/97
MB 6/17/97
MM 6/25/99
SKB 03/15/00
SKB 03/28/00
LM 05/02/03