Sienna, 4, of Eight Mile Plains, and Roxy, 5, of Murrumba Downs, are happy with their balloon figures created by the magical hands of 82-year-old Larry Sykes.
Sienna, 4, of Eight Mile Plains, and Roxy, 5, of Murrumba Downs, are happy with their balloon figures created by the magical hands of 82-year-old Larry Sykes.

Entertainer has given more than 5000 performances

"I DON'T know about the stories of retirees 'blowing' their kids' inheritance - I'm too busy blowing up balloons," says 82-year-old magician and entertainer Larry Sykes.

"Besides, I'm not retired. A little tired maybe, but not retired."

Larry was at Brisbane's South Bank on the last day of Seniors Week doing what he does best - inflating balloons into funny animal shapes for the many children who gathered around his colourful display.

Born at Palmerston North in the southwest of New Zealand, Larry was a builder for many years but tired of "banging away with nails and hammers" and returned to entertaining, eventually moving to Bribie Island.

Over the past 55 years he's entertained on both sides of the Tasman giving more than 5000 performances and making TV appearances.

Known as the 'wizard of the mall', Larry performed in Queen St for four years before shifting his balloon craft to South Bank.

But when the curtains part, the man affectionately known as 'grandpa wizard' by his family, still feels like the teenage boy who first discovered magic.


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