Weekend events: Balloon art exhibit, barbecue, beer fest

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Giant balloons are taking over San Francisco, a barbecue is taking place in the North Bay and a celebration just for beer lovers will begin in Oakland. We teamed up with our partners at Hoodline to bring you the best events happening this holiday weekend.

Inflatable Art Exhibit Opens at the Exploratorium
These aren't your ordinary party balloons; enormous, whimsical works of inflatable art are coming to the Exploratorium. Indoor and outdoor galleries will be filled with pieces that combine technology and-of course-air, all perfect to stand in-awe of and snap a great photo for Instagram with.

"The artists are doing some really amazing and unexpected things with the medium of air," said Exploratorium Director Chris Flink. "These giant humanoids really fill the enormous space on Pier 15. There's always new stuff here, but this is going to be gigantic."

ABC7 got a sneak peek at the set-up taking place. One piece by artist Shih Chieh Huang looks like a futuristic, glowing undersea creature. It's not until you look closer that you realize this high-tech looking installation is made from transformed trash bags and other items, like highlighter marker fluid.

Artist Jason Hackenwerth was hard at work ahead of the opening, inflating approximately 16,000 balloons and weaving them together to form an organic structure that will eventually be suspended from the ceiling. It may look like fun, but it's no joke. Hackenwerth has to tape up his hands to avoid balloon-related injuries.

"When you tie 10,000 balloons a day you start to lose skin... it's quite painful... we also use hearing protection or we listen to our music to protect from the popping sounds," said Hackenwerth.

He says the rippling, massive structure evokes the balloons you saw in childhood, but the medium is applied in a whole new way.

"Anyone can sort of access it, we use a material that's easy for people to relate to, so it doesn't become intimidating to anyone. And then have there be that layer of intrigue and maybe the more you think about it the more possibilities come for what it could be... Then I know that the piece is working well, it's not just one thing, it's something different to everyone."

Come and marvel at Inflatable: Expanding Works of Art, opening on May 26th and running until September 3rd at the Exploratorium on Pier 15. Find out more about the event here.

Annual Fireman's Barbecue
And how does smoky barbecue and live music sound? It's a North Bay tradition: the Fireman's Barbecue! The whole family is invited to Santos Meadows on Frank Valley Road this Sunday, May 27th from 12-5pm-there'll be activities, live music, barbecue and handmade desserts. There's a kids' play zone, bounce houses, climbing walls and a mechanical bull. More than 100 prizes will be raffled off. The BBQ is free, donations and food/raffle purchases benefit the Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

To find our more information, visit Hoodline here.

Session Beer Fest
And calling all beer lovers, Session Fest is back! More than 40 craft breweries will be at Oakland's Jack London Square. The beer starts flowing on Saturday, May 26th from 1 to 5pm. Proceeds benefit Bike East Bay.

Find out more about the event here.
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