Wantagh artist Khadine McMillan selected for Big Balloon Build


Khadine McMillan, a balloon artist from Wantagh, has once again showcased her remarkable skills on an international stage.

McMillan was selected to join 80 of the world’s top balloon artists in Northern Indiana for the Big Balloon Build in April, an event that transforms venues with stunning and immersive balloon art. This year’s theme was a vibrant carnival complete with tightrope walkers, a giant ferris wheel, and a fun house, all crafted from over 150,000 biodegradable balloons.

“Our balloon artistry goes beyond just latex, air, and helium; it's a celebration of generosity and love, not only for our craft but for all people,” McMillan said. “The smiles and excitement our creations bring, regardless of their size, are truly heartwarming.”

The Big Balloon Build, a non-profit organization originating from the United Kingdom, is renowned for creating large-scale balloon installations around the world. The organization aims to create awe-inspiring environments while supporting various charitable causes. This April marked the fifth time the event has taken place in the United States, with the Northern Indiana Event Center serving as the backdrop for this year's spectacular carnival-themed build.

McMillan’s journey into balloon artistry began 17 years ago when she started decorating for her children’s birthday parties. Her passion and talent led her to establish Milan Event Experience in December 2019, a family-owned events décor company based in Wantagh. Specializing in balloon décor for corporate and social events, Milan Event Experience is known for its creative and coordinated approach, turning ordinary events into extraordinary experiences.

In the recent Big Balloon Build, McMillan served as a team lead, directing the creation of a "tilt-a-whirl" themed section that featured a panda ticket booth and other carnival attractions. This was her second time as a team lead, a role that involved extensive planning and collaboration.

The Northern Indiana balloon carnival drew an impressive crowd of 4,000 attendees, with tickets completely sold out. The event raised approximately $211,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Michiana, underscoring the powerful impact of the Big Balloon Build on local communities.

McMillan’s involvement with the Big Balloon Build doesn’t end here. She is set to participate in the next event in November, which will take place in Indiana County, PA, benefiting the United Way of Indiana County.

“Being able to have that sense of purpose and give back to these communities is something that I really enjoy doing,” McMillan said. “Experiencing the smiles, the joy, the enthusiasm when they see it, when they're even a part of it- you create that sense of community to give back and it's really awesome.”