Get out there and play
Look, up in the sky (and across the lake), it’s a boat, it’s a plane, it’s the Chicago Air and Water Show. Pack a picnic and bring a blanket to sit along the lakefront between Fullerton Avenue and Oak Street. The show begins on Friday from 3-9 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the water show begins at 9 a.m., while the air show runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
For the first time, the festival has added activities filled with famous Chicago natives on Friday, beginning with Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady on "The Brady Bunch," singing the National Anthem at 3 p.m. Delight your family with aerial feats from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and watch Wilmette native Bill Murray jump out of an aircraft 12,500 feet above the earth’s surface with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. There is also a free concert featuring Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band at 5 p.m. at the North Avenue Beach Boat House. After the concert, watch more precision flying and aerobatics, with a fireworks show from 8:45-9 p.m.
The 50th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show is free. For more information, call (312) 744-3370 or visit the Web site at cityofchicago.org/specialevents
Get your tickets here
This week, four lucky Chicago Parent readers will win five tickets each to a special sneak preview of “Sing-a-long Little Mermaid” at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 22. To win, visit our discussion board
Get out there and play some more
Take your kids up, up and away this weekend at the Centralia Balloon Festival Friday-Sunday. From balloon races and glows to cardboard boat races and a kids’ area, your family will be floating away with fun.
More than 40 balloons will inflate around Catfish Pond to rise and race overhead at 6 p.m. Friday and 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Although many of the balloons are round and colorful, there a few special balloons that take the shape of Pepsi cans, Humpty Dumpty and “Arky,” a cartoon replica of Noah’s Ark that was created in Centralia. Your family may have a chance to go up in a tethered balloon, weather permitting.
There is also a kids’ activity area filled with inflatables and crafts from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well as a car show on Saturday and live entertainment throughout the festival. On Sunday, get creative and make your own cardboard boat to race around the pond.
The Centralia Balloon Festival is held at Foundation Park, 600 N. Pleasant St., Centralia. Admission is $2. Parking at Foundation Park at the North Gate is $3 or $2 with a Pepsi can. For a full schedule of events and information, call (618) 532-6789 or visit the Web site at centraliaballoonfest.com
Although summer break is beginning to wrap up, you still have time to get in one last summer festival this weekend at the North Side Summerfest. The festival takes place at 4050 N. Lincoln Ave., just north of Irving Park in Chicago, Friday-Sunday. Expect plenty of live music, arts and crafts as well as a kids’ play area. Stop by the Chicago Parent booth to pick up a free goodie bag.
North Side Summerfest is open 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is a $5 donation. For more information, call (773) 664-4682 or visit starevents.com/northside.html
Piece of the prize
Your kids will go ape if you are one of five lucky Chicago Parent readers to win “Orangutan Island” and “Growing Up Safari” from Animal Planet on DVD. To win, visit our discussion board.