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A RISING STAR: Move over, Lex, there’s a new celebrity in Santa Cruz. Balloon artist Ivan Whitworth of Adventure Balloons fame won the coveted Entertainer of the Year title at the International Balloon Arts Convention in Chicago earlier this month, beating out more than 45 contestants. To earn the award, Whitworth had to compete in three competitions: Non-round Balloon Sculpture (for which he fashioned a live-size mermaid with dreadlocks — so Santa Cruz), Balloon Busker (where the artist vied to earn the most “tips” from the audience) and Balloon Figure. Congratulations, Ivan, Scruz loves all things full of hot air.

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