Balloons more than beautiful distraction during Pride Parade

- It started out as a hobby, a fun way to make a few extra bucks.

"I twisted balloons at a children's theme park for five years and then fell in love with the decor aspect and entertainment," said Tommy DeLorenzo, founder of Balloons By Tommy.

But if you would've told DeLorenzo 16 years ago, when he was just a teenager, that he could make a livelihood doing what he loved?

"I regret not knowing that earlier but now I'm so happy I get to do what I love everyday and make people happy at their events, it's great," he said.

Next to New Years Eve, the Pride Parade is DeLorenzo's biggest stage.

However, he can't blow up, tie, shape and mold 40,000 balloons on his own -- that's where his crew of 40 comes in.

Balloon artists from all over the country, not only helping, but learning new tricks, too.

"We've got a team of six people working on it so because we have a team it's just a few minutes, but Tommy has done a lot of pre prep and this is a design he's done for a long time," said a Tennessee balloon-maker, Dianna Glandon.

And you won't mistake his float come Sunday.

"We'll have different sculptures, people outfitted in balloons, carrying balloons, a coach bus covered in balloons, it'll span about three city blocks, 40,000 balloons," DeLorenzo said.

And at the front of his float is a tribute to Orlando, an elaborate balloon creation, simply spelling 1-Pulse.

A special memory for a crowd still grieving.

"It's crazy," DeLorenzo said. "I've never been to an event with a million people before, so to see a million people experiencing the color and impact, the energy is overwhelming, but in a good way."

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