JUNEAU (AP) -- A Juneau man organized a worldwide balloon-twisting event involving more than 500 people in 11 countries on Wednesday.
From Bangkok, Thailand, to Kent, England, and from Juneau to Charleston, S.C., balloon sculptors will twist thousands of balloons into wiener dogs, hats and a variety of inflated latex sculptures as part of Balloons Around the World.
Juneau resident Jeff Brown organized the third annual event, which started out as Balloons Around the Country and grew to a worldwide event the second year.
''I got 500-plus people all over the world to donate time for a good cause or a charity,'' Brown said. ''They'll be twisting everything from small creatures to large sculptures.''
Brown, co-program director at Juneau public radio station KTOO-FM, set up the whole operation from Juneau using the Internet.
He created a Web site and used it to advertise a simple premise:
''When someone receives a spontaneous gift, it brightens their day. When their day is brighter, they spread it on to others. Children love balloon animals, and so do adults, although some won't admit it! What better way to showcase the magic of balloon sculpture and make the world a better place, both at the same time.''
The site contains photos from the previous years' activities and an overview of the event.
The site also allows balloon sculptors around the world to network. The event is noncommercial and some of the twisters used the opportunity to raise money or support for charitable activities.
Twisters from 44 states and countries around the world have signed on. Many are clowns who will be twisting in costume.
In front of the Russellville Wal-Mart store in Arkansas, Oops A. Daisy the Clown planned to twist balloons in exchange for donations to a local nonprofit organization called TAB or Tumors, Accidents and Burns.
A twister in Ireland is donating time to twist balloons for a toy drive for an orphanage in Belarus, once part of the Soviet Union.
In South Carolina, the Balloon Babe and her husband, the Temporary Tattoo Dude, will be twisting and face-painting at a Charleston grade school.
In Juneau, Brown planned to twist balloons at the Juneau Pioneers' Home, and team up with his daughter, Callie Conerton, for some twisting in her grade-school classroom.
Brown said he hopes the event encourages others to be more giving of their time.
''It's an event that allows twisters to both showcase a fun art as well as to give back to their communities,'' he said.
Juneau's Michael Orelove planned to combine balloon twisting with his interest in astronomy and twist at the Juneau Community Planet Walk at Twin Lakes, using balloons to demonstrate basic principles.
He said he thinks Brown is on to a fantastic idea.
''To spend a day making balloon animals for people is a nice thing,'' Orelove said. ''It could bring peace to the world.''
On the Net:
Brown's website: www.balloonsaroundtheworld.com,
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