Many people may have felt deflated when their plans to hop onto The Big Bounce America were scuttled after rain forced the cancellation of activities scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9 in Grove City.

But all hope is not lost.

"From what I understand, the company's going to try to set up for us to come back at the end of the season," said Dex (who does not have a last name), as the Big Bounce America team headed out Sept. 9 to the attraction's next stop in Indianapolis.

Dex serves as tour manager for the East Coast version of the giant inflatable bounce house attraction. Another bounce house operates in the western half of the country.

"The guys who created this always envisioned it as an outdoor attraction. We all spend too much time indoors," Dex said. "Unfortunately, when you're setting up outdoors, rain is one of the things that can wreak havoc.

"We had a lot of good buzz from people in Grove City, so I hope we can come back soon," he said. "We want to try to make it up to the people who bought tickets."

The Big Bounce America was certified in August as the world's largest bounce house. The 10,000-square-foot open air attraction was set up at LVL Up Sports, a paintball park in Grove City. It stands about 32 feet tall, according to a press release. The attraction, set up as an inflatable castle, includes an obstacle course, basketball courts, giant slide and a ball pit.

The weekend's wet weather held off long enough to allow an afternoon of good times Sept. 7.

As he watched the first group of toddlers and their parents enter, Dex talked about the common reaction of visitors young and old when they first glimpse the colorful attraction.

"There's always that 'wow' factor," he said. "They can't believe what they're seeing. And then you see the big smiles as they're coming out. It's fun for everybody."

The Big Bounce America 2018 tour includes visits to 64 cities through November.

"We typically operate over the weekend. We set up on Wednesday and tear down on Monday," Dex said.

When it's open, the attraction offers sessions for different age groups, from toddlers to adults.

Adults are able to act like kids again, Dex said.

"The scale of this is so large, it's sort of the same size for adults as a regular bounce house is for a toddler," he said. "It's a chance for an adult to act like a kid again. It's like real-life version of the movie 'Big.' "

Other inflatable components include jungle animals, trucks, boats, beds and a forest.

A DJ plays music and hosts games and competitions from a circular stage located in the center of the bounce house.

Columbus resident Emily Gray was one of the first central Ohio residents who got to visit. She brought her 3-year-old son, Owen.

As Owen threw inflatable beach balls up in the air, Gray laughed.

"It's really a whole lot of fun," she said. "It's a good way to spend time with your child."

Owen said his favorite part of the bounce house was the basketball hoops.

"I like shooting the baskets," he said. "Now I want to get something to drink and rest."

"It might be time for a nap," his mother said.

Jhenna Broussard of Blacklick said her son, Tatum, 2, had been looking forward to visiting the bounce house for days.

"As soon as I saw it was coming here, I signed us up," she said. "He kept asking each day when we would be going."

When they arrived, "his eyes lit up," Broussard said. "Mine did, too. It was even bigger than I imagined.

"I'm so glad they were able to make a stop around here," she said.

"There's not many things you can go to that are designed for kids Tatum's age," she said.

Lyndsey Whittredge of Ashville sat to rest while her son, James, 3, repeatedly made his way through the Ninja Run, one of six components set up in the Bounce Village adjacent to the bounce house.

"He's having a blast," Whittredge said. "When we were in the bounce house, he kept running around to all sides. He just wanted to see and experience everything he could."

What's best about The Big Bounce America is that it provided youngsters a chance to interact with other children their age, she said.

"It's just nice for James to get to play with other children in such a fun way," Whittredge said.

While they waited their turn to enter the bounce house, Myleigh Cossin, 9, and Brianna Peterman, 10, both of Galloway, also made their way through the inflatable Ninja Run.

"The Ninja Run is so much fun. It's a big obstacle course you run through," Brianna said.

"You just make your way through any way you choose," Myleigh said. "You can run through it or bounce off the things they have in there."

"My favorite part is the ball pit because I can do flips in there," Brianna said.

"I'm a gymnast and I love jumping on trampolines. This is a good way to use and practice my gymnastic skills."

Myleigh said she couldn't believe her eyes when the attraction first came into view.

"We were riding in the car and all of a sudden, there it was," she said. "I couldn't believe how big it was. And it's so colorful. Most bounce houses are pretty dull and gray. This is just so bright and colorful."

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