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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

Profile of Paddy
OK, I am going on a road trip and will be doing balloon animal busking. Not a problem but the question is when I pull into a town how do I identify places where families are so I can set up and make balloons for tips. I tried a Mall food court and was promptly told to get out by mall security so that's not a good idea.

Thanks for any clues
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own
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Special user
645 Posts

Profile of RiffRaff
Maybe you can find the answer in this book:
Richie Larson
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New user
North Carolina
92 Posts

Profile of Richie Larson
Oh boy..
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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

Profile of Paddy
I have that book and it doesn't mention about being on the road. It assumes you will busk in your home area. My question is when you pull into Peoria IL ir podunk ID and get a motel how do you find the local family attractions to busk balloons at?
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own
Nick W
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515 Posts

Profile of Nick W
I would have gone directly to the mall office and speak whoevers in charge of events at the mall. negotiate a deal that allows you to be there, make $ and benefit everyone present. otherwise I would go to parks...
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Dargaville, New Zealand
929 Posts

Profile of MagiCol
Paddy, as you no doubt know, kids have times when they are at school and times when they get taken shopping/outing with their parents. There are 'surge' times when kids are out and about and other times when they are absent. It's the parents who will be paying for the balloons and will need to have money on them to do so. Also, I believe there are some events where a kid having a balloon doesn't make sense - e.g. Saturday morning kid's football practice, or at a skating rink.

How about checking the main street to see how many kids are walking on it?
Maybe near parks at riversides where the turnover of vehicles parking is high. Nickey's idea of doing a deal is a good one, I reckon. Supermarkets are one place they go, and if they have their own parking it's privately owned, so you need permission from the manager to be there. How about public malls, rather than private ones?
What about community garage sales and weekly markets, outside picture theatres after a film finishes? On the pavement just along from McDonald's or some other Fast Food location. Talk about that, what about selling balloons to folk going from busy restaurants?

In NZ we have different school holiday times than USA - we have three lots of 2 weeks holiday during the year with a 6 week holiday during early summer and I find in my small town that during the holidays there are very few children out and about [with parents] in the strip-shopping area of the main street. On the other hand, over at a city in a public mall there are lots of kids - with their parents - out and about.
Hey, I once caught a public bus on a long trip, and at the stop for morning break I made a balloon model and gave it to fellow traveller - a girl of about 12 in a pretty white dress. Her parents insisted on paying for it. I made a few dollars that way.

Maybe some of these ideas will help.
The presentation makes the magic.
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Dargaville, New Zealand
929 Posts

Profile of MagiCol
Another idea: make a balloon model or two to show and go into shops/stores and offer to sell to them, promoting the idea that tney can add an exra dollar or to onto each model and sell them to customers. This might work well for small country stores, where balloon models are a novelty seldom seen, seldom available. It may pay to mention to the shop-keeper that they balloons will be sellable for just a couple of days because after that they will slowly deflate. They will need to take that risk for themselves.

Sometimes when I'm selling on the street, after I make the dog and hand the it over and get paid I tell kid, "I have some sad news about your balloon dog. Because you can't feed him, after a few days he will get weaker and weaker and smaller and smaller." Balloon models can last weeks, in fact. For those not aware of it, balloons lose their shiny look after a day, but still stay up....
The presentation makes the magic.
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Loyal user
289 Posts

Profile of Stperformer
Alright Paddy, Here it is in a nutshell. Hopefully you appreciate the following & can use it....

1. Do your bloody homework. This is the internet age, use it! If you're going on a road trip do your research. I know you often preach here "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" but that just doesn't cut it anymore. Too inefficient, especially while travelling. You get to place and get shut down while on the road.....then you have to move on, find another place....unproductive while eating up $$$$.

So MONTHS ahead, decide where you want to go and get on the phone if possible and start making inquiries. Find out where/when the festivals are and promo.

2. To specifically answer your question of what to do when you pull into a new town's is what I always like to do.

Most cities have tour buses which take you to the main tourist areas/attractions (read potential busking). Often they depart hourly & you can hop on/off as you please.
Hop on one of these with a city map and make notes of each area. If it looks really good, hop off, explore, then hop back on the next bus.
At the end of the tour, decide on the best looking areas and that's where you go.

3. Privately own shopping malls as you found out are no good. If you do get lucky they will also most likely insist you have Liability Insurance.

However most cities have Business Associations or BIA's (pertaining to outdoor shopping areas). They are usually much more receptive. While they don't own the property/sidewalks, their approval will often ward off any bylaw or police officers.

Good luck Paddy, hope things work out for you.
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Profile of NYCTwister
Found these-

The third one mentions a Street Performers Alliance.

I would bring both magic and balloons; in case you run across people who refuse to see taking money for the balloons as anything other than vending.

Max T Oz's suggestion obout the tourist buses is excellenct. I'm going to do it in NYC, and I live here!
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
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Inner circle
1082 Posts

Profile of gallagher
Paddy, first I wish you a good trip!
, flat tyres.
,...great weather.
,... smiles(!)
,.. and 'understanding'!

man, it seems you've got some pretty good advice here,.
I wish I could help you out some(!).
I've kinda always went for it,..
when it worked,.. I was great,.
when it didn't,..
hmm,... the audience's fault,.
or Monika's.

One thing , though, I've noticed,.. through the years;
when it 'worked', certain thing WERE often present,..
without me really planning them(!).
First, I'm shooting for a slightly different demographics, then you.
I don't go for the kids, per se.
Still, it might relate.
I've found, when our Show works, often there are Parfume Shops around,..
Book shops,..
Antique shops,...
maybe,.. maybe a Gourmet,..... Fine Food Shop.
.NO 10 Cent shops.
No Teenager clothing shop,..
No Fast food joints,..
No Cafés across from me....
Shops with my crowds, are in the area.
funny, I read somewhere, they pay a lot of money to find just THOSE spots!
,I sort of unknowingly ride along.

One other litte nit, I consciously do,..
in Germany, every town has at least one,..
at least FIVE Italian Ice Cream Shops, in the towne center.
Each Shop has, at least one truck that goes out on the weekend,.
to their 'special' spot.
It's not like the Good Humour Man,.. driving from neighborhood to neighborhood;
these guys, go to one 'hot spot' and sit all day.
They really know where the folks go, on the weekends.
In Germany, the Shops are basically closed Saturday afternoons and Sundays,.
so,.. the money is made,... at the 'hot Spots'.
I always ask the Italians where they're heading for the weekend.
I know, this probably doesn't help YOU much, in the States,..
but,.. who knows!

all the best!
keep it between the trees.
come home safe,...
with a smile,...
and a pocket full of stories(!),
to share with US!
Mario Morris
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Inner circle
Mario Morris
2044 Posts

Profile of Mario Morris
I suggest that you contact Lady Vee on this, she is realy an expert.
This is her field.
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Inner circle
New Zealand
1311 Posts

Profile of Yellowcustard
Get a map and draw routes from public transport to the cinemas. were these join is were you need to busk usaully good for morrings. buy and around fastfood at lunch. ice cream and coffe shop in the afternoon. this is a bit of a wide brush stroke but start thinking this way ideas will come. also lonely planets and rough guides have family sections so check those out.

I do research ahead of time but I also go to local library and check out any local fairs or markets. I contact them and arange the abbilty to busk some go for it and some don't. Its works well in NZ.

Hope this helps
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
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