Saturday | December 16, 2017
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Balloon artist rising to the top

“You don’t find much of it around, ya?” said Sharla Sare, owner of Aloha Baskets and Balloons.

Sare was referring to one of the many pictures that adorn the walls of her office located at 614 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo. The photographs portray large balloon structures that she’s created over her decades-long career.

Sare’s work has been seen all over Hilo. Over the years she’s elevated peoples’ spirits with her helium-filled constructions during events such as the Heart Walk, Fashion Show at Prince Kuhio Mall and Mokupapapa Discovery Center. Her work has also been featured all over the world.

She was one of six people in the United States chosen to build a five-story high Jack and the Beanstalk Castle with Giant in Rochester New York, which also happened to be the largest structure she’s ever developed, she said.

She’s also a nationwide competitor in her field, having participated the past two years on the USA balloon team. Sare’s team took silver last year in St. Louis and bronze this year at a competition in Denver.

This July she’ll be constructing a 60-foot NASA shuttle in Texas and will be travelling to Japan in August to further her balloon skills.

So how does one find themselves in such a unique career?

“I was raised to just go to the top of everything,” she said with a smile. “Just go as far and as high as you can.”

As a middle child of five, she said it was her parents’ guidance that convinced her she could do anything she puts her mind to.

“Do the best you can and go the farthest you can,” she said. “You might not like something, but finish it and move on. But you never quit.”

Sare has used her parents’ words of wisdom as inspiration and motivation to share her distinct capabilities with others. She said it’s the reactions by customers and onlookers that make her job worthwhile.

“I love it when they say, ‘I had no idea it would look like this,’” she said. “Or the best is when they say, ‘Mom! Come here! You’ve got to see this!”

Sare has been operating her Big Island business with her daughter, Noelle Sare, and husband Craig since 2004. This past weekend her work was featured at the Kona Chocolate Festival.

When asked if the creative process ever gets challenging, she couldn’t help but laugh.

“Right now I have no clue what I’m going to do,” she said with a chortle. “I might start panicking, but once I start building, it will just come alive with me then.”

For more information about Aloha Baskets and Balloons visit

Sare can be contacted at 808-935-1939.

Email Megan Moseley at


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