Neighbor Korene Tom Is Taking Her Balloon Artistry On The Road For Charity

Balloon artist Korene Tom will join dozens of other artists in Indiana in April to build a carnival-themed wonderland.

Woman holding a balloon Easter bunny
Korene Tom is going to Indiana to build a huge balloon wonderland with other artists for a charity event. | Anne Marie Kristoff/Ingleside Light

This neighbor is ready for her blow up.

Korene Tom, a Mission Terrace resident and balloon artist, was selected to travel to Indiana in April for a huge charity event called Big Balloon Build.

“I'm always amazed at their concepts and I always love working with a large team to build something super amazing,” Tom said.

Tom and 79 other artists from around the world were selected out of hundreds of applicants to create balloon-based wonderlands at the Northern Indiana Event Center in Elkhart, Ind.

Tom, owner of balloon decor and party entertainment company Fortune Kookie Fun, will work for four days to create a fully immersive balloon carnival experience for all attendees.

“We will have tightrope walkers, a giant Ferris wheel, clowns and more — all made entirely out of balloons,” Director of Big Balloon Build Stuart Davies said in a news release. “We are thrilled to have Korene Tom part of the team, helping us create this massive event and raising important funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana.”

The event is being hosted by Jennifer Nyikos from Fun By The Yard, a small business that offers yard cards and balloon decor. The exhibit will also be filled with over 150,000 biodegradable balloons with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana.

Tom is primarily a balloon twister and will be a part of the character-building team, helping to create 4-D balloon people to match the theme like crafting a hippopotamus in a tutu.

“Being an independent artist myself, it’s hard to pull together a team for anything large and even sell a concept to somebody here in the Bay Area,” Tom said. “Learning from those who have done it before is a great experience and I’m just one of the worker bees who has the talent to help pull it together for the bigger cause.”

This will also be Tom’s third time participating in the Big Balloon Build, previously being selected to ply her craft in 2014 in Rochester, N.Y., in 2022 in Orlando, Fla. and in 2023 in Greeley, Colo.

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