Back in 1978 owner, Mike O'Connor, left his home state of Montana "The Big Sky Country". Mike went to South Florida and became a Commercial Hot Air Balloon Pilot. There he met his wife/business partner Peggy who was a school teacher from the Chicago Area. They moved to the Chicago Area in 1980 and started "Big Sky Balloons", a hot air balloon ride company.

In 1984 Mike and Peggy O'Connor became the first couple to cross Lake Michigan in a Hot Air Balloon. This flight landed them in the record books and earned them National Press and Publicity.

Mike and Peggy preparing to launch, 1984 Mike and Peggy over Lake Michigan, 1984 Mike and Peggy today

In the Early 80's Big Sky Giant Advertising Balloons were born. You may have seen big inflatable balloons for advertising in the Chicagoland area over the past 30 years. These giant balloons are still a giant success. Balloons are inflated in front of Auto Dealerships, Store Grand Openings, Sales and Special Events all over the Chicagoland area.

These big balloons in Chicago started with an idea from Balloon Pilot, Mike O'Connor. While struggling in the wind to inflate a giant hot-air balloon for a Chicago car dealership Mike thought "there has to be a better way. If only there was a way to pressurize this big balloon to handle the Chicago winds." Mike sewed the bottom closed in his giant hot air balloon and connected a furnace blower pumping air inside to pressurize the giant balloon. Due to internal pressure, the Chicago wind didn't collapse the giant balloon but gently funneled the wind around it making it a great success!

The giant balloon was securely anchored and the Chicago Auto Dealership was delighted! The Auto Dealership now had a giant colorful balloon acting as an inflatable advertising billboard to attract potential auto buyers who pass buy their place of business everyday. Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights started advertising balloons in Chicago in 1980, they now have an inventory of over 300 giant balloons and character shapes. Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights still remain the leader in rental of giant inflatable balloons.




Mike and Peggy became mesmerized while on a business trip in Southern California. Four beams of light were dancing somewhere off in the distant horizon. They were entranced and set off to find the source of the magic beams. The beams were coming from an amazing Sky Tracker Searchlight. The rest is history. Big Sky Balloons added a fleet of rental searchlights in 1990. These multi-beam searchlight units produce over 600 million candle power. Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights can provide a searchlight for your next evening event. The searchlights are mobile – so whether you are in Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri or Louisville, Kentucky - Call Us!


Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights

(800) 769-8000
Email: info@bigskyballoons.com
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