Ann Arbor’s Balloon Queen Helps Bring Candy Land To Life

ANN ARBOR – If you’ve followed our reporting in Ann Arbor over the years, chances are you’ve seen a story or two about Carolynn Hayman.

She is the designer of the viral Conrad the Unicorn balloon costume and is often seen strutting around at local events like FestiFools in her eye-catching and playful designs.

She’s also been known to participate in balloon competitions and builds, which brings us to today’s story.

Hayman recently participated in the nation’s first-ever “Big Balloon Build” in Vincennes, Indiana. The event was organized in the United States by her friend and party store manager Liz Romani. Romani convinced UK-based balloon artist Stuart Davies to hold his famous ‘Big Balloon Build’ event in his town after staging several successful builds which helped raise money for charity.

The week-long project saw 65 balloon artists from across the country join forces for a week for a Candy Land-themed build.

Hayman (left) poses with a member of his creative team during the “Big Balloon Build” in Vincennes, Indiana in early April 2022. (Carolynn Hayman)

“It was one of the coolest things I’ve been involved in,” Hayman said. “The level of the hot air balloon was out of this world.”

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Artists were divided into groups and tasked with bringing the board game to life in a 12,000 square foot community center. From characters to a giant ice cream castle, lollipop antlers to a 70-foot-long rainbow, artists created larger-than-life presentations using 125,000 balloons.

📺 Watch Hayman appear on Local 4′s Live in the D

Once completed, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, gala with balloon dress fashion show, and general public viewing day followed. The “cost” to participate in the event was a bag of canned goods. Over 14,000 pounds of food were collected and the event raised over $130,000 for the local United Way.

Carolynn Hayman (left) poses with members of her creative team during the “Big Balloon Build” in Vincennes, Indiana in early April 2022. (Carolynn Hayman)

“We had a great team of people who had lots of ideas and tried new things,” Hayman said. “It was so collaborative and we had so much fun. The fact that all of these people left our own companies for the week — it was very heartwarming.

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Lily: Ann Arbor balloon artist spreads joy during pandemic

After all was said and done, a group of volunteers came to smash everything they had created. But Hayman said she likes that her artwork isn’t permanent.

“The fact that it doesn’t hang around forever — you have to appreciate it in the moment — is so appealing,” she said.

Lord Licorice is pictured in a sea of ​​balloons during the “Big Balloon Build” in Vincennes, Indiana in early April 2022. (Carolynn Hayman)

Since the start of the pandemic, his company, Pop! Designs & Creations, has largely turned to balloon presentations for local events.

You can follow her updates and latest creations on Facebook and Instagram.

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