LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — A major helium shortage could deflate your next party or celebration.
The fragile supply is forcing local party planners to think outside the box and explain to customers why the gas isn’t available.
Amie Vreeken said they are the staple of any good party.
“I don’t like boring arches,” said Amie Vreeken with a laugh.
“There’s something magical about balloons. I’ve noticed old or young, people light up when they see balloons,” she explained.
Amie is a décor specialist with Balloons with a Twist.
On Friday morning, Vreeken and her co-worker Shai Yammanee were building a balloon arch at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club for the big fight night viewing party.
But they weren’t using helium because there’s a shortage.
Instead, they were using plain old oxygen to fill the balloons.
“At first, we really panicked,” said Vreeken.
“It’s actually been really fun,” she continued.
“We’ve put things on poles. So, instead of doing a normal bouquet of six balloons, we can put it on one stand, wrap the balloons around that stand,” said Vreeken,
But helium is used for more than filling balloons.
Michael Pravica is a physics professor at UNLV.
“Helium is primarily used for MRIs in hospitals. It’s also used for divers who go deep sea diving,” said Pravica, just to name a few uses.
But helium can’t be manufactured and the global supply is shrinking.
“The United States produces most of the helium. That’s in places like near Amarillo, Texas, Kansas, and Wyoming. The problem is, because of global demand, because of MRIs and manufacturing industries, helium is becoming more and more scarce,” explained Pravica.
If you want to buy a helium balloon, you’re going to have to pay up.
Filling one helium balloon at Party USA in Boca Park now stands at $1.00.
That’s on top of another two dollars for the actual balloon.
But News 3 went to a Walmart Friday afternoon and found a tank of helium that will blow up 30 balloons for just $20.00. There were only a couple of tanks left on the shelf.
Back at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, Vreeken was out to make the party pop, with a colorful statement at the front entrance, even without helium.
“Once people realize there is life after helium, it really opens up that channel of creativity,” said Vreeken.