Holiday balloon sculpture at Northbrook Court helps raise money for charity

  • Megan Raysby takes a photo of Sam and Doris Pekovic of Prospect Heights and their daughter, Mila, 4 months, in front of a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook court Mall Saturday. Raysby, of North Shore Balloon Decor, constructed the sculpture to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Megan Raysby takes a photo of Sam and Doris Pekovic of Prospect Heights and their daughter, Mila, 4 months, in front of a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook court Mall Saturday. Raysby, of North Shore Balloon Decor, constructed the sculpture to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Sam and Doris Pekovic of Prospect Heights and their daughter, Mila, 4 months, have their photo taken in front of a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook court Mall Saturday. Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed the sculpture to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Sam and Doris Pekovic of Prospect Heights and their daughter, Mila, 4 months, have their photo taken in front of a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook court Mall Saturday. Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed the sculpture to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor adjusts the eyebrows on a Santa Claus made of balloons at Northbrook Court Mall Saturday. She constructed the balloon sculpture of the gingerbread house in the background to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor adjusts the eyebrows on a Santa Claus made of balloons at Northbrook Court Mall Saturday. She constructed the balloon sculpture of the gingerbread house in the background to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network.

      Megan Raysby of North Shore Balloon Decor constructed a balloon sculpture of a gingerbread house at Northbrook Court Mall to help raise funds for the Hunger Resource Network. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/24/2020 9:15 AM

She spoke not a word, and went straight to her work ...

However, there is evidence Megan Raysby did speak, a Facebook video capturing her transformation of a sleigh-full of balloons into a gingerbread house and other decorations this past weekend at Northbrook Court.

 

The entrepreneur, a mother of two, indeed remains friendly and talkative. In her line of work, she must also be lively and quick.

Business is booming for Raysby's company, North Shore Balloon Decor.

In addition to her installation inside the court, which she did to enliven the atmosphere, provide a holiday photo backdrop and primarily aid donations to the Northbrook-based Hunger Resource Network, on Saturday afternoon she did a balloon inflation at the Fort Sheridan Reserve Complex to salute a new major.

Sunday morning she did three other balloon-construction drop-offs before bolting, more rapid than eagles, to help stir donations at Northbrook Court.

"It's hard for me to think right now, I'm so tired," she said Monday morning after making a couple more drop-offs.

It was worth it. Whether people simply admired her Northbrook Court balloon sculpture or sat for photos, they donated more than $500 in cash, Raysby said, with online donations yet to be counted.

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Assisted by the effort, the Hunger Resource Network, whose website started at about $5,000 short of a $50,000 overall fundraising goal, has surpassed that amount and boosted its goal to $60,000.

"People were donating anything from $2 to $20, so I would probably say anywhere around 100 families" visited the sculpture near the mall's big Christmas tree and The Beauty Bar, Raysby said.

The balloon art will be up "as long as it looks good," she said, or until shortly after Christmas.

An artist who earned six awards at the 2020 Float Convention in St. Louis in January -- the next convention comes to the Westin Lombard Jan. 23-27, 2022 -- Raysby is a former children's entertainer with a drawing card of balloon twisting. Her talents expanded beyond mere dachshunds and flamingos.

"People just kept asking for bigger and bigger things and I just kept saying yes and finding a way to make it," said Raysby, who started North Shore Balloon Decor about five years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Using balloons in all manner of color, shape and size, starting Friday by herself -- with a little help from her husband, Brad -- Megan built the gingerbread house facade with a snow-topped roof, what could be described as a baby blue-and-white "cloud gate" archway, decorated fir trees, a snowman, gingerbread men and other details.

The crowning touch: helium-filled balloons of Santa Claus in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer.

"I just thought it'd be a cool effect to have something floating," Raysby said. "That's everyone's favorite part, by the way."

To (again) paraphrase Clement Clarke Moore, it gave a luster to the court, while helping the Hunger Resource Network.

"I just think at this time, when there's not a lot of community things happening and I know a lot of families are missing holiday activities, it would be a fun, community event for everyone," Raysby said.

"To be able to couple it with such a good cause, it just seemed like something I had to do."

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