Poppin Penelope and her brightly colored balloons are decorating the Expo Center lobby for a second year. We caught up with Penelope to find out a little about her unique talents and what she thinks of the N.C. State Fair.
How did you get started as a balloon artist?
“My brother is Farmer Phil. He’s played the N.C. State Fair in the past and was the first one in the family in this type of business. I saw he was having a lot more fun at his job than I was having at mine. I do balloon art, but I also do face painting, magic shows and stilt walking. I also have a nephew that is getting into the fair business. He’s 15 and does juggling and magic shows.”
How many fairs do you perform each year and do you have a favorite?
“I go to about 10 fairs each year. I would give the N.C. State fair a blue ribbon for being the friendliest fair. Last year the volunteers in the Expo Building and fairgoers made an effort to get to know me and would check in to see how I was doing.”
That’s a lot of fairs! Do you have any favorite fair foods?
“Well, I’m a vegetarian but I love sweets. But candy apples are sticky so it’s hard to twist the balloons. My favorite might be the fried cheese.”
What’s your plans for the lobby of the Expo Center at this year’s fair?
“This year I am creating an underwater scene. I started before opening day with blue and white balloons and will be adding to it daily. There’s going to be lots of surprises added each day. Just because you see it on day one or the first weekend – it’s not going to look the same later in the week. I will also be incorporating social media suggestions we received from fairgoers on the 2015 fair theme, Nothing Could be Finer.”
Anything else? Hobbies?
“My first love is swing dancing. And I will claim to be 19 years old no matter how many times you ask me my age.”
Poppin’ Penelope is just one of dozens of free entertainers throughout the fair. Other acts include the Axe Women Loggers of Maine, Farm Magic Agri-Puppets, The Moo-Gician, Racing Pigs and more.
Check out Poppin’ Penelope in the lobby of the Expo Center daily.