How the DNC Pulled Off That Colossal Balloon Drop

Brian Barrett, writing for Wired:

“We had inflation stations where there were four or five of us in a group blowing them up, tying them up, throwing them into a funnel” that dumped out into a series of nets, DeFalco says. “It was a constant buzzing of the machines. Some of the people that weren’t professionals didn’t tie as fast, so we’d be tying and they’d be throwing it into the tunnel.”

There are dozens of these nets, each of which holds 2,000 balloons, says DeFalco. Those are then secured by a rigging team, and released with a simple pull of a string. Having lots of smaller parcels helps minimize the chance of a misfire, which is good, because there’s no Plan B. “There’s really not a backup,” says DeFalco. “There were so many, even if one or two didn’t work, you still had another 50 or 60 nets. The average person wouldn’t notice.”

Update: These balloon drops don’t always go smoothly. In 2004, the DNC balloon drop failed — and CNN mistakenly ran the audio control feed of event director Don Mischer. “I want all balloons to go, goddamnit! … What the fuck are you guys doing up there?”

Friday, 29 July 2016