Let's go fly a kite Up to the highest height Let's go fly a kite And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere Up where the air is clear Oh, let's go fly a kite Let's go fly a kite!
Julie Andrews sang those words in the 1964 movie classic "Mary Poppins," giving voice to one of life's little pleasures.
Officials at the Mayor's Office of Special Events in Chicago know that special feeling kite-flying gives families. So, on Oct. 9, the city is inviting families to gather in Lincoln Park to fly kites for no reason other than to enjoy the thrill of sending a kite "soaring up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear."
The sixth semiannual Kids & Kites festival will offer free kites to all children in addition to the materials needed to decorate and individualize the kites.
"I think it's a wonderful tradition," says Cindy Gatziolis, spokesperson for the Mayor's Office of Special Events. "There's a longtime tradition of kite flying. It's just a nice afternoon in the park before the long, cold winter sets in."
Each child will receive a kite kit, says Frank Crowley, director of Windy City Arts, who has been helping out at the city kite events for four years. Crowley will help each child decorate a kite with markers and scissors. Once the decoration phase is finished, the children will fly-assuming the Windy City lives up to its name that day.
"Making the kite and flying gives you a sense of achievement," Crowley says. "Nowadays, it's especially interesting because so much entertainment is electronic, and here's something they can make with their hands."
When the kids are not flying and decorating their own kites, they can watch professional kite flying demonstrations, listen to strolling entertainers or visit the Kohl/McCormick StoryBus.
The kite festival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lincoln Park on Lake Shore Drive at Montrose Avenue. Oct. 10 is the rain date. No need to preregister, and the event is free. For more information, visit www.cityofchicago.org.