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May 20, 2007 - 04:16 AM UTC
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271 Greece Ridge Center Dr, Rochester, NY 14626, USA (
Each year in October, Monroe County in New York is host to
, a 10,000-square-foot Halloween haunted attraction made entirely out of latex balloons. The brainchild of balloon artist, Larry Moss, this unique annual Halloween attraction really has to be seen to be believed. Every part of the attraction is sculpted from balloons, including the walls, decor, furniture and even the creatures that lurk within. In the spirit of the Halloween holiday, all proceeds from
are donated to cancer charities.
The haunt's creator, Larry Moss, was drawn to the performing arts at a young age and began playing the violin, juggling, and performing magic tricks. Gradually, Larry turned to balloon sculpting (which he refers to as "
") as another medium of artistic expression. Moss did not settle for just creating balloon hats and poodles, his balloon sculptures increased in size and complexity; leading to a world record in June of 2000 (along with fellow balloon artist Royal Sorell and a number of volunteer helpers) for the world's largest non-round balloon sculpture. The sculpture, which was constructed in Mol, Belgium, was 25-feet in height and 80-feet in width. It featured a pair of 40-foot tall soccer players, a giant soccer ball and goal net, as well as huge blades of grass on the soccer field, all constructed from latex balloons.
In July 2003, Moss led a group of artists in designing the world's first flying balloon sculpture. Called the "
Fantastic Flying Octopus
," the 100-foot diameter balloon sculpture carried a human pilot high into the air. The endeavor was filmed for the documentary,
Flying an Octopus - Raising Balloon Art to New Heights
(see Available from Amazon.com below).
The History of Balloon Manor
Larry Moss's wife Judy was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma shortly after the birth of their daughter, Morgan, in 2003. A series of medical complications during her treatment ultimately led to a brain injury that sent Judy into a coma. While she was in a coma, Larry spoke to her frequently with the hopes that his words would reach her and bring her back to consciousness. During these conversations, he promised her that if she would come out of her coma, he would give her a special wedding anniversary present. The couple had been married on Halloween and his gift to her would be a haunted castle made entirely from balloons. When Judy finally regained consciousness, she asked Larry, "
Did you promise to build me a haunted house, or did I just imagine it?
" It was the one thing she remembered from Larry's conversations with her during the coma.
True to his word, Larry turned his "
" into "
" for their anniversary the following year. In October of 2004, the first
was constructed in an empty storefront in the Southtown Plaza of Henrietta, New York. The story attached to the attraction dealt with an ancient castle full of strange creatures that fell under a curse during a wedding that caused the manor and everything within to become balloons. The attraction had a total of ten rooms and an overall size of 10,000 square feet, which soon became the standard for future
. More than 5,000 visitors came to see this first incarnation of
, raising a total of $34,000 for charity. The proceeds that year all went to the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Hennrietta, New York.
In October of 2006,
returned, this time to the Medley Center in Irondequoit, New York. The back story for the haunt that year was that while visitors had helped lift the curse off the manor the first year, the creatures had returned to turn the place into a "
Dead & Breakfast
." Due to the buzz about the first
, the event was an even bigger success than the first, with an even larger crowd of visitors coming to visit the attraction. The haunt once again raised funds for the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, as well as an organization called Teens Living with Cancer.
The attraction once again returned to Medley Center in October of 2007. This time the theme of the event was "
Elastic Park, The World's First Balloon Scream Park
" and the manor was filled with prehistoric critters in a tribute the
films. Another new twist to
was the addition of composer/sound designer, Ward Hartenstein, to the team. Hartenstein created a sound environment for each of the ten rooms in the haunt that year.
also held a children's contest that allowed children to submit design drawings for creatures inside the manor for that year. Winners had their creations made and enjoyed a VIP party in the attraction. The Al Sigl Center and Golisano Children's Hospital were among the organizations to benefit from that year's event.
In October of 2008, the manor was constructed and run at the Greece Ridge Mall in Greece, New York. For that year's attraction, the manor's inflatable monsters got an education with the theme "
Scare U, Ghoul School
." The money raised by the event went to Teens Living with Cancer. By this point, the number of visitors to
had increased to the point where Larry and his team had to devise a way to move the lines through the attraction faster. They also brought in actors to provide entertainment for those waiting in line to make the time go faster and to add some extra perks for those who bought tickets to the attraction.
was cancelled for the 2009 season. Due to the poor economy, there was not enough sponsors to make the event feasible. Balloon Manor has been on an indefinite hiatus since. Hopefully, it will return at some point in the future.
The Effort Behind Balloon Manor
More then 100,000 balloons are used each year to construct
. Balloon artists travel from across the world, including countries as far away as Japan, to volunteer their talents for the Halloween attraction. The event also requires hundreds of volunteers to do everything from directly assisting the artists to providing food and lodging for the volunteer staff. The balloons are filled by a combination of air compressors, hand-pumps, and even by old-fashioned lung power depending on what works best for the sculpture in question and the preference of the artist designing it.
The manor is entirely constructed in under one week, due to sculptures only lasting a short time before the balloons deflate. The deflation factor also sets a time limit on how long the manor can be open to the public. Ultimately, the sculptures are sold off after the attraction closes to the public. In addition to the buyers getting to briefly display elaborate balloon art at their homes for Halloween, their contributions go to a good cause.
Balloon Manor in the Media
, Larry Moss was no stranger to news media coverage. A number of his projects, including the flying octopus and world record-sized sculpture had drawn the attention of news outlets.
has been featured as a story on CNN more than once. By the time of the second year of the haunt in 2006, the story was being covered by the Associated Press and was the subject of a news bit on PBS. Larry even made an appearance on the
Martha Stewart Show
in October 2008. He taught Martha how to create a balloon sculpture as they stood inside a replication of a
room at her studio.
Visiting Balloon Manor
The unique Halloween attraction has always traditionally been held in Monroe County around the city of Rochester, New York in the month of October. The venue for the event changes from year to year, however, so it is best for anyone planning a visit to check the official
Web site (see Related Sites below) for details on current location, pricing, dates and times of operation. It is also possible to volunteer to be part of the
team or to make donations to the effort through their official Internet site. The specifics of the attraction also change from year-to-year as Larry Moss and his team try to keep things fresh for the audience and experiment with what works. Previous incarnations of the manor have added sound and actors to entertain the lines of waiting people and even at times haunt the house itself. Who knows what the
crew will come up with to thrill the manor's patrons with in the future? Finally,
is a family-friendly haunt that is safe for small children and those who do not wish to be scared.
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The official web site of Balloon Manor. A Halloween haunted attraction built entirely with latex balloons.
Airigami: Balloon Manor
Airigami's page on Ballon Manor, the haunted attraction built from balloons.
Web site for Larry Moss, creator of the Balloon Manor haunted attraction.
A balloon industry resource maintained by Balloon Manor's Larry Moss.
Wikipedia: Larry Moss
Wikipedia entry for Balloon Manor artist Larry Moss.
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See Also on TheCabinet.com
Blog: Balloon Manor (05/05/08)
Blog: Balloon Manor Canceled for 2009 (07/26/09)
Blog: Halloween and the Economy (08/30/09)
Blog: Elastic Park (02/07/10)
Available from Amazon.com
CD Attack of the 50 Foot Demon
Twisting History: Lessons in Balloon Sculpting
Balloon Architecture: Construct the World's 10 Coolest Buildings
Balloon Engineer: Build 10 of the Coolest Places in the World
Balloonicature: The Many Faces of Balloon Art
Flying an Octopus - Raising Balloon Art to New Heights [VHS]
Flying An Octopus - Raising Balloon Art to New Heights
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The entire structure of Balloon Manor is constructed from balloons.
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "
Closed to the Public
" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "
" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.
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