Loni the Balloon Artist

Learning About Loni

Loni was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Millbrae and San Mateo, both on the San Francisco Peninsula. She graduated with an Associates in Arts degree from San Francisco City College. She was married 27 years to Al Menter and they had four children. In 1975 the family moved to Idaho and Al worked for Morrison Knudsen as an executive in Boise. As her kids grew up Loni worked as a Childrens’s Party Hostess at McDonald’s restaurant in Nampa, Idaho for 17 years. Loni trained Hostesses for 3 McDonald’s Restaurants in Nampa, Caldwell, Idaho and Ontario, Oregon. Loni was left a widow when Al was killed in a car accident.

Six years later she met and married Bob Trude. For their first year of marriage they followed the teaching of Deutoronomy 24:5 that says, “When a man takes a wife, he shall not serve in the military or do any business. He shall be free for one year and cheer his wife.” So they spent their first year of marriage traveling around the country in their 30-foot travel trailer. They had a fantastic 5-year marriage until she was left a widow again when Bob died of a massive heart attack.

Zebra balloon sculpture by Loni

After Bob’s death Loni made balloon animals and balloon shapes for children as therapy for herself. She liked it so much that she kept learning more. It turned into a career and business in August, 2005 when Loni became the balloon artist.

She lives in Nampa, Idaho and works as a balloon artist and author. Loni takes private balloon twisting lessons to increase her skill. She subscribes to “Clowning Around” and “Balloon Magic” trade magazines so she can keep her creations new and up-to-date.

From 2009 to 2011 Loni won seven 1st place awards for her balloon sculptures. In that same time she won 16 awards for her photography. Boise Weekly featured her in their newspaper in the Feb 5-11, 2014 edition. Read the full article here. Watch her video interview here. The Idaho Press Tribune did a full-page feature story about Loni on February 19, 2012. Articles about her awards and books have appeared in other newspapers.

Loni has published a series of five books, “The Crown Jewels of Caldwell, Volumes 1,2,3,4 & 5” all signed by Governor Butch Otter, Idaho State Senator Russ Fulcher and Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas. They are in the Caldwell Public Library in the adult section as part of Caldwell’s history.

Connecting With Kids

Loni has an unusual rapport with children that can be seen in her photographs. A producer for Boise State Television explained this phenomenon: “Somehow you are able to gain the trust and the love of these little children very quickly. That is what you are seeing in these photographs.”

Many parents say, “Loni makes it fun for kids.” She does this by involving the children when she twists balloons. For example, she has a child hold the balloons for her after she inflates them. If there is enough time, she encourages them to make a few twists themselves. The kids love it.

Balloon Artistry

Loni twists balloon animals and other shapes for parties and events. She makes balloon centerpieces. She takes award-winning photos of children and adults with their balloons. The volumes of her books contain many of these photos.

Loni has Various Award Winning Center Pieces:

  • Daisy Bear
  • Ollie Octopus
  • The Carousel
  • The Stork
  • Tom the Turkey

She loves to work with clients to create new sculptures.


Loni & her work have been featured in many publications.

    • Feb. 11 2014 “Twisted Dreams”
    • Jan. 2015 “Caldwell Chamber Director”
    • August 2015 “Buckaroo Bazaar”
    • Sept. 2015 “Piggies”
    • Oct. 2015 “Pumpkin”
    • Dec. 2013 “Window Washer Santa”
    • Feb. 2014 “City of Middleton Logo”
    • Dec. 2013 “Window Washer Santa”
    • Jan. 2016 “Masquerade Ball”
    • Jan. 2015 “Caldwell Chamber Director”
    • April 2015 “Air Garden”
    • June 2015 “Uncle Sam”
    • July 2015 “An Apple a Day”
    • Oct. 2015 – “Pumpkin”
    • Nov. 2015 “Turkey”
    • Dec. 2015 “Star Chamber Santa”
    • April 2014 “7.2 pH Balance”
    • June 2014 “Marine Emblem”
    • August 2014 “Butterfly”
    • Sept 2014 “Banged-up Kid”
    • Dec. 2014 “Single Moms Unite”
    • Dec. 2013 “Window Washer Santa”
    • Apr. 2016 “Air Garden”
    • Jan. 2015 “Caldwell Chamber Director”
    • April 2015 “Cop & the Crook”
    • June 2015 “Uncle Sam”
    • June 2015 “An Apple a Day”
    • Aug. 2015 “Buckaroo Bazaar”
    • Oct. 2015 “Pumpkin”
    • Nov. 2015 “Tom the Turkey”
    • ]Nov. 2015 “Caldwell Night Light Parade”
    • June 2014 “The Little House”
    • June 2014 “Marine Emblem”
    • Sept. 2014 “Banged-up Kid”
    • Oct. 2014 “Firearm Safety”
    • Dec. 2014 “Single Moms Unite”
    • Oct. 2015 “Pumpkin”
    • Oct. 2014 “Firearm Safety”
    • Dec. 2013 “Window Washer Santa”