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Aptos Balloon sculptor

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Aptos Balloon sculptor named Entertainer of Year

Ivan Whitworth of Santa Cruz was named Entertainer of the Year at the annual International Balloon Arts Convention in Chicago in March.

Whitworth’s work has been seen locally at First Night Santa Cruz, the recent Blues Festival and the Chaminade Conference Center.

More than 1,000 balloon professionals from around the world attended the event. Whitworth took the home top prize from among more than 45 competitors by earning the most cumulative points in three categories: non-round balloon sculpture, balloon figure and balloon busker. For the balloon sculpture competition he wove a life-size mermaid with illuminated eyes and dreadlocks; in the “busking” competition, he earned the most play-money “tips” while entertaining a diverse crowd using comedy and balloon art.

Whitworth is of five sons who, with their father, run Adventure Balloons in Santa Cruz.

“Using balloons is an extension of the fun I’ve had with my family all my life,” he said. “Involving the audience as I create balloon objects is fascinating – it doesn’t matter what age the ‘kids’ are.”

Jimmie Whitworth, Ivan’s father, won recognition for his small sculpture work in the 2000 International

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