I literally laughed out loud when I saw this giant barn made from balloons that the Santa Monica, Calif.-based party planning service Send in the Clowns had made for a child's recent farm-themed birthday party. Talk about the piece de resistance of a party!
Send in the Clowns CEO Leesa Zelken came up with the idea after bringing to life a couple of other balloon concepts at previous parties. For a Wizard of Oz bash, she had a tunnel of rainbow-colored balloons created. The tunnel began with a wide opening and then gradually shrunk, giving the kids the impression of being munchkins as they walked through it. She had a similar tunnel created for an Alice in Wonderland party.
So when she was hired to throw a barn birthday, she knew she "wanted the same kind of interactive experience with balloons," Zelken said. "I wanted to use them with a meaningful purpose as opposed to just a bouquet."
The balloon barn was born.
Zelken started her business 20 years ago after moving to the Los Angeles area from New York to pursue an acting career. To support herself, she began performing as a clown at kids' birthday parties. The business evolved into the full-service party planning company that it is today.
Zelken said her knack for creating magical birthday scenes is probably rooted in her background as an actress.
"For me, parties are very theatrical," she said. "It has to feel like you're walking into that world."