A Lanarkshire balloon artist takes a deep breath at America’s Big Balloon Build event

A talented balloon artist from Coatbridge was walking through the air after becoming the only Scottish participant in her field to help create America’s first-ever Big Balloon Build.

Jacqui Young and her team from Wishaw’s Classic Touch Balloons company showed off their brilliant breathing skills to carefully construct a giant replica of the Candy Land board game, using an incredible 125,000 balloons.

They flew to Vincennes, Indiana for a jaw-dropping task that was anything but child’s play.



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Jacqui was one of 65 balloon artists from around the world to take part in the first Big Balloon Build held outside the UK.

As previously reported by Lanarkshire Live, its first Big Balloon Build took place in December 2021 in Birmingham, which was the first event of its kind away from director Stuart Davies’ home country of Wales.

Jacqui has decorated venues for all types of celebrations – but building a giant forest as part of a life-size board game was a whole new challenge.

She told Lanarkshire Live: “The Big Balloon Build was donated to the United Way of Knox County Charity in Indiana, where it raised over $180,000 for over 30 community charities.

“Once completed, the display was open to the public. On the first day, the door had to stay open for three hours longer than expected to try to accommodate the long queue.



Building a giant forest as part of a life-size board game was a whole new challenge for Jacqui

“Local businesses provided me and all the other balloon artists with meals during their entire stay.

“The giant ice cream cones and colossal clouds of cotton candy were made possible when Hasbro Inc granted Stuart Davies permission to use its trademark game, with Hershey’s Chocolate also doing the same.

“It was the first time anyone had tried to make an oversized board game with balloons.

“I was on the Plumpy team. We created the gingerbread plum trees that Plumpy was the guardian of and I got to work alongside artists from the United States, Canada, England and the islands Caymans.”

Jacqui, 56, a former pupil of Rosehall High, lives in Coatbridge with her husband Robert and son Kyle and has been honing her craft for over 30 years.

She said: “Everyone makes balloons, but not many people are certified balloon artists. I started in Airdrie and when I started there were very few training opportunities and I mainly did weddings.

“I quit when I had my son Kyle about 19 years ago and got a job in a kilt shop in Glasgow when he was a baby.

“I became a manager there and they asked me to do the windows. It’s limited to what you can do to make the windows look different, so I went back to making balloons and came back to that. I like.”



Jacqui was one of 65 balloon artists from around the world to take part in the first Big Balloon Build held outside the UK.

About her American adventure, Jacqui added: “”Being on American construction was both exciting and exhausting.

“This was my second Big Balloon Build and the more I do the more I love it. I made lifelong like minded friends and raised lots of money for the charities involved .”

And Jacqui now intends to take part in an event closer to home, saying: “I applied to organize a Big Balloon Build in Glasgow. I think Glasgow would be the ideal city to organize such an event.



Jacqui was part of the Plumpy team and created the gingerbread plum trees that Plumpy was the guardian of.

“I know international artists would be welcomed with open arms and love everything the city has to offer, and we could raise a lot of money for local charities.”

To learn more about Jacqui’s Classic Touch Balloons business, visit her Facebook page.

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