Toledo is one of only a handful of stops for giant, inflatable art installation

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - Thousands of people are expected to pack the Toledo riverfront this week for Momentum. This is the second year for the three-day, family-friendly and free festival. It's a celebration of glass, music, art and makers.

Today was a test run for the temporary art installation at Promenade Park called Fantastic Planet. The name is taken from a 1970s film.
Throughout the day, crews worked to make sure everything is in place by inflating and then deflating the enormous figures.

Nathan Mattimoe is is the Art in Public Places Coordinator for the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, "Have you ever worked on a project like this before? No, never. I am used to traditional public art, but this is a lot of fun."

The process of bringing the giant art forms to life is also a lot of work, "There are 50 sandbags that go into the base of each one, so there is quite a bit of labor involved."

Marc Folk is the Executive Director of the Arts Commission. He says Toledo is one of only a handful of stops for the installation, "It will be one of the best photo-ops in the city all year long. They are three giant, internally-lit, inflatable humanoids for the public to interact with "

It takes a team of artists and volunteers to make it happen. Those working on the project say one of the best parts about Fantastic Planet is that it's interactive. Jedidiah Stuelpnagel is a technician for the installation, "It is key nowadays to to make art approachable and take away the stigma of not being able to touch it and interact with it."

It took about an hour for the first humanoid to take shape. Stuelpnagel says adults and children marvel at the giant inflatables, "They want to touch them, hug them and that is all okay. Children want to jump on them, they think it's a giant bouncy house when they see them.They can't do that, but they can certainly touch them and we love to see that."

There will be two other great inflatables at Momentum. One will be reclining in the grass at Promenade Park and the other will be peeking around the stage.

Momentum is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to downtown. Folk says it's another example of the thriving art scene in our community,"We have an amazing artist community here, and if you look at it just from a business standpoint there are about 390 arts related businesses in Toledo alone. Those businesses employ more than 2,700 people. The arts is a huge sector of the local economy and it's big portion of our regional and national identity. The arts community in Toledo is incredibly vibrant, and it is truly helping shape the future identity of our city."

Mattimoe says momentum is a perfect way to celebrate all of that, "It's a great opportunity to bring Toledo together to celebrate the arts and culture scene in our city and how vibrant it is and what the potential is."

Momentum kicks off Thursday night. It runs from 5-9pm that night.
It starts with an opening reception for the Hot Glass Exhibition and Competition at 300 Madison. Friday hours are from 5-10 pm, and it runs from noon-10 pm Saturday. The fun includes concerts, dance lessons, food trucks, a Mini Maker Faire and interactive displays

We've posted a link with a full run down of the all the activities and times.