It takes Melanie Balaban less than 10 seconds to bend a balloon into the shape of a puppy.
Her speedy balloon artistry came in handy on Sunday when she was anticipating more than 1,000 requests for cats, giraffes, elephants, horses, swan bracelets, hats, swords and unicorns at Saputo Kids Corral at Westerner Days.
“I like to go fast so I can make sure every kid has one. Kids love it,” said Balaban, known as Chatterbox.
She started learning how to twist balloons into different shapes at age 13 and it’s not the first time the Torontonian has performed at Westerner Days.
“I love the energy and the people and I love travelling,” said Balaban who was preparing for a crowd of balloon-waiving children and adults who would come her way following Doo Doo The Clown’s interactive show.
Doo Doo had everyone on their feet and waiving skinny balloons to the music.
“Kids always love balloons. It’s always part of fairs, festivals. I’ve been doing this 35 years and it’s still the kid’s most favourite. They love balloons,” Doo Doo said.
He said his show is about family and he wants everybody to join in the fun.
“I love to get the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas, and everyone involved with the kids. I look out and I just can’t stop smiling. It’s so much fun to watch everyone having a good time,” Doo Doo said.
“And that’s what Westerner Days is about. There’s a lot of fairs and festivals where it’s tough to get the parents. It’s like pulling teeth. But here it’s just very family oriented so it’s a really nice feel.”
Ingrid Roughead, assistant manager of marketing and communications at Westerner Park, said children were the focus in several areas on the Westerner Days grounds.
“The Peavy Mart Discovery Barn has definitely been a favourite this year. We have 60 animals in there so kids can go right up to them, pet them.”
And new to Westerner Days this year was the section with inflatable slides and bouncy castles where children and people of all ages could release their inner child.
“It’s very much a celebration of families and children and having our community come together.”