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2023 Free Outdoor Family Events: Meet The Bubbler

The Bubbler

When Steve Russell performs as The Bubbler, there are two things going on in his head.

“I've got to get out as many bubbles as I can so that these kids can have a great time -- just run around squeal, jump, laugh,” he explained. “And then there's a part of me that wants to be artistic and wants some of the bubbles to just escape so we can all look at the beauty of them.”

It was about a year before the pandemic hit when Russell started experimenting with bubble performances. He had spent more than 40 years entertaining through juggling and other circus acts, including stints at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, Disneyland, and Disney World. As a lifelong performer who depended on audiences gathering, Russell’s world shut down with the onset of COVID-19.

“We will not work for at least a year and so we got to figure out what we're doing,” Russell said to his wife, who is also a performer.

So, Russell asked how far he can take this bubble endeavor. With his unexpected amount of free time, he started experimenting by making new equipment.

The Bubbler - Kids

“I started weaving my own nets -- my own bubble nets --and I started making my own bubble contraptions based on other people's designs and some of my own as well,” he said.

Soon, Russell had bubble devices made of rings, strings and bird chains. He quickly learned to create bubbles of all shapes and sizes, including 300 tiny bubbles at once, bubbles the size of a beach ball or even bubbles big enough to fit around a kid.

When it became safe to perform as The Bubbler, Russell quickly learned the show isn’t about him.

“I interact with [the kids], but it's not about my interaction with them, it's about their interaction with the physical world and the beauty of the bubbles,” he explained.

Instead, The Bubbler is about connecting people to the real world and living in the moment.

“One of the things I like about bubbles is that they have to be appreciated right now,” he reflected. “You make them instantaneously; you watch them and then they disappear.”

In a world consumed by technology, bubbles allow for kids and adults alike to unplug.

“You just have to appreciate it for the here and now,” he added. “You gotta enjoy things for what they are.”

The Bubbler

The Bubbler will be in Des Moines June 15-17 at a variety parks in the metro as a part of Des Moines Performing Arts’ Free Outdoor Family Events series. The performances are FREE and open to the public. 

Thursday, June 15
10 AM - Evelyn K Davis Park - Des Moines
12:30 PM - Prospect Park - Des Moines
6:00 PM - Linnan Park - Clive

Friday, June 16
10 AM - Drake Park - Des Moines
12:30 PM - Columbus Park - Des Moines
7:00 PM - Colby Park + Pavilion - Windsor Heights

Saturday, June 17
10:30 AM - Haines Park - Altoona
1:00 PM - Crossroads Park - West Des Moines
6:30 PM - Wagner Park - Ankeny

You can find more information on all of the 2023 Free Outdoor Family Events here.



June 5 - August 7, 2024 Learn More


June 12 - August 28, 2024 Learn More


June 30 - August 25, 2024 Learn More