The Ela Area Public Library was home to a host of colorful, squeaky farm animals Monday after a visit from a master balloon artist.
Children and parents watched in astonishment as Dale Obrochta transformed balloons into elephants, swans, chickens, cows and more during his farm-themed improvisational balloon show. Children raised their hands in desperation when Obrochta called for assistants to help his balloon creations come to life.
When 7-year-old Ryan Kohl was selected, he begged for an alien-chicken. Obrochta complied.
"I like all the animals," said Kohl, of Lake Zurich. "But that alien-chicken was my favorite. It looked so weird."
Obrochta has been using humor and his talent for twisting balloons to entertain audiences for 31 years.
"I got into this by hanging out with a bunch of strange, bizarre, twisted people in college," Obrochta said. "I joined a juggling club and didn't realize the club was comprised of world-class jugglers, fire-eaters, stilt-walkers, unicycle riders and magic balloon artists."
Even though the marketing and business sides can be difficult, Obrochta said the everyday interaction with people makes it all worthwhile.
Obrochta will perform his full-length show, the Art of Inflation, Wednesday at the Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard.