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Posted September 17, 2014 in Ankeny, Community Featured
Blake Engel shows some of the balloon sculptures he creates in his garage.  Photo by Patti Stockdale.

Blake Engel shows some of the balloon sculptures he creates in his garage.
Photo by Patti Stockdale.

Things that make you smile: celebrations, kids and balloons, which means Blake and Shelly Engel, who own Amazing Balloon Twists, must smile a lot.

It all started several years ago, when a friend requested their help twisting balloons at a fundraiser. Inspired, the couple studied numerous balloon models and sculptures, honed their skills and opened their own balloon business almost three years ago.

Today, they twist balloon models and create décor for many different types of events, including, but not limited to, birthday and retirement parties, baby showers, parades, corporate and store events, company picnics, grand openings, schools and daycare facilities, fundraisers, charity events and church picnics.

“It’s not just inflating balloons,” Blake says. “You need artistic design and engineering skills.”

According to Blake, the most unique balloon design requests have been llamas and the Eiffel Tower. Since complex designs take longer to create, they now use a pictorial menu tailored for specific events, which limits the number of choices and speeds up the process since all designs are of similar complexity.

“Sometimes we get as many 65-70 kids standing in line,” states Blake. “Penguins, sea turtles and swords are all popular. Team colors are really popular, too. We do a lot of red and gold and black and gold.”

While balloons are fun toys for people of all ages, there are safety concerns to consider.

“The biggest thing people forget is balloon safety,” Blake says. “On every bag of balloons it states that adult supervision is required for children under the age of 8. We don’t give children under 3 balloons. We give them to the parents to decide.”

If you are looking for the Engels on a Monday or Tuesday night, you’ll probably find them at Wendy’s in Ankeny. No, they’re not sipping on a Frosty; they are twisting balloons for school fundraisers between 6-8 p.m.

“Seeing all the smiles makes it fun,” Blake adds.

Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”

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