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Balloons falling from nets.We installed this 7000 balloon drop at the Liverpool One shopping mall overnight on 21st July. We started at 10pm and worked though to 6am before waiting for the afternoon drop.

3500 Of the balloons were stuffed with tickets of which 500 were winning prizes. Originally the shopping centre wanted to stuff just 100 winning prize vouchers into the balloons but we decided this would be too dangerous and could cause problems with the crowd. Amazingly the crowd behaved really well hardly moving from their positions.

Installing and filling the balloon nets:

Balloon Crew

First and most importantly here’s the crew, each player has over 20 years experience. From left to right: Colin Cledhill of Roys Balloon & Party Shop, Alex Dixon of Amethyst Balloons, Liz Roffey of BalloonAround & David Crossley from Creative Balloons.


 

Peppering the nets

As there seemed to be a shortage of Dacron Line in the UK we didn’t get the chance to prep the nets before the event. So we had to cut and stitch them on site before we could start inflating.


 

First net being filled

 

First net being filled at 10.54pm

As usual we fill the nets from a balcony. On this occasion we mixed things up with balloon sizes including 350q (sausage balloons), 16″ and 11″ standard. All are Qualatex in nice bright primary colours.


 

Stuffing balloon net

Here the net is almost full and we begin to cable tie the side to seal it.


 

Net ready to hang 11.05pm

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Hanging the nets using a GENIE

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A Genie lift was used to hang the nets and a professional driver employed. Health and safety dictated that we had to wear a harness with Fall Arrest and 2 carabiner clips. Now days you have to work with H&S and embrace the rules.


 

3 Nets up at 2am

Here we are at 3am with 3 x 1000 nets installed. These took longer to hang than expected as the side walls on the upper level were difficult to reach with the Genie.


 

Hanging pull lines

After each net is in position we use good old fashioned ladders to keep the pull line up and away from the shoppers, to avoid any balloons dropping early.


 

4 Nets up at 3am

4 Nets up at 4am


5am And all the nets are place

5am And all the nets are in place and ready for a 2pm drop.


Although we’ve installed 100’s of drops this was the first occasion in the outdoors. The shopping mall was partially covered but the nets were left open to the elements which was something we had not experienced. At 7am it rained and this caused the nets to drop slightly. This was not a problem apart from the pull lines lowering and becoming reachable, we had to cut them and place in the launch position early which meant security was required to guard them.

Also the wind began to pick up and the nets swayed and moved slightly. As they swayed from left to right the pull string became tighter and almost release the balloons, we had to allow extra slack for the movement (not something you need to worry about in a theatre or club).

Here’s me after a long night and after all the nets are empty:

David Saker

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