Out and About: Funbelieavably cool balloons

Out+and+About%3A+Funbelieavably+cool+balloons

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Jeff Neukom

 

So you’re hosting a party for younger kids and want to keep them entertained? No? Are you hosting a party full of college kids and you want to keep them entertained? In either event, Funbelievable Balloons has got your need for fun covered. They are a family-friendly balloon twisting company in Bloomington-Normal, and they know how to fill your party with fun.

Funbelievable Balloons began as the raw, loosely defined dream of 2008 Illinois Wesleyan University graduate Aaron Hays. While in attendance here, Hays further honed his balloon artistry skills and eventually turned a hobby into cash in his pocket. He was able to earn tips and amaze restaurant crowds—a pretty nice way to make a few dollars without hampering his studies!

After he’d graduated, he entered the financial services industry, and it didn’t take long for him to realize that merging his entrepreneurial skills with the passion of young adults would equate to a successful business venture. He quickly began recruiting artists, offering training and meetings to share any trade secrets. Soon enough, Funbelievable Balloons was born.

It also didn’t take long for Wesleyan students to catch wind of Hays’ venture. One alumnus, Daniel McGuire ‘13, met Aaron a couple months after Funbelievable’s inception. It was a chance meeting—McGuire and his family happened to bump into Hays at a local Bob Evans during his first year at IWU. He has since risen through the ranks and is now co-owner and the Children’s Entertainment Specialist who handles all client inquiries and booking.

Working at Funbelievable Balloons has given Daniel the chance to learn new skills and meet many interesting people. Still, his favorite memories have come from his interactions with customers. He said, “The best part of the job is when you have incredibly excited kids. Every now and then you’ll have a little girl who just goes crazy with excitement when she gets her balloon. One time, the daughter of a family friend was so attached to the mermaid that I made her that she wouldn’t even let her mom touch it or take its picture.”

One local customer, Diane Packee from Kewanee, IL said of her experience, “My event was July 19, 2014 and Daniel was my Balloon expert for the day to entertain everyone. This man worked his tail off from 10 a.m. to four p.m., non-stop, and when he wasn’t doing balloon creations, he was doing face painting which was also a huge hit. He created smiles on the children’s faces all day long!”

With balloon ninjas, benders and clergy, the team certainly knows a thing or two about creating an enjoyable atmosphere for the young and old. They specialize in all sorts of different balloon creations, including iPhones, dragonflies, giant squirrel bracelets and gumball machines.

Don’t believe it? Go ahead and check them out at one of their weekly shows at Bob Evans, Buffalo Wild Wings or Denny’s. They are at Bob Evans on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Denny’s from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. They are also open crazy long hours, so if you have a late-night or early morning urge to see some masters at work with their balloons, feel free to stop by.

While fun is the name of the game for Hays, McGuire and the rest of the team, they know they must also utilize good business practices to be successful. They focus their efforts on local organizations— businesses, schools and churches in particular. These public events give them the opportunity to meet members of the Bloomington-Normal community, which will also help generate birthday party commitments.

Perhaps the coolest part about Funbelievable Balloons? They are always hiring! Various IWU students have taken advantage of this great opportunity and reaped the benefits of it: endless fun coupled with payment of $35-40 an hour for weekend work! Opportunity to meet tons of people and share joy with others? Check. Opportunity to augment your on-campus earnings? Check.

The team recognizes that balloon-twisting skills are not exactly common, which is why they look for people with infectious personalities and excellent people skills. On top of this, they look for people interested in working for two or more years, so job security needn’t be a concern of yours.

Fun in Central Illinois? You’d better believe it!