Flight Fest is a soaring success with kids

Ask the kids for a show of hands: Who wants a history lesson and who wants a party? You don’t need psychic powers to guess the answer. But what if the history lesson is the party—a really cool learning adventure tucked inside a carnival?

Flight Fest

2-8 p.m. Sept. 26

Free admission and parking; activity wristbands

Gallery Park, 2001 Patriot Blvd., Glenview


The Glenview Park District is the host and Flight Fest is the party, a one-day event happening Sept. 26 at Gallery Park. The fest grew out of a desire to honor the history of the area while offering enough bells and whistles to make this a truly not-to-be-missed family outing.

The park and surrounding lands were once home to Naval Air Station Glenview—a U.S. naval air station operating training aircraft and seaplanes on Lake Michigan during WWII. After the war, it became a naval air reserve base until it closed in 1995. Today more than 130 acres of the former base is designated park land.

In its second year, Flight Fest is expected to attract even more than the 5,000 people who showed up for its inauguration. The fledgling festival pinky swears you and the kids will learn a lot and have a blast.

Jason Hickman, director of recreation, says it’s a typical small town event where families come together for good food and fun entertainment while soaking up a bit of meaningful education about the history of an era and specific area.

“It’s a nice way to remember what the site was and enjoy what it is today,” Hickman says.

A local historical organization known as Bring It Home Glenview is setting up a tent you’ll definitely want to visit. The adults will appreciate the photo displays, vintage flight suits and other memorabilia, while budding pilots can engage with clever, interactive displays.

The Blue Max Aces will dazzle the crowd with the dips and dives of remote control airplane maneuvers. Prepare for oohs and aahs from the kids—and maybe the pleading puppy-dog look that says they want one. You might pack a little extra cash just in case they decide to explore the on-site hobby shop.

Organizers plan to wow the kids with more than a dozen bounce houses, a climbing wall and Euro bungee. Wristbands for unlimited turns cost $8. Throughout the afternoon you can also expect to enjoy roaming musicians, magicians and balloon artists.

Finally, stick around until evening, unfold your lawn chairs and relax to the sounds of American English—a Beatles tribute band—which closes the festival with a sweet exclamation point.

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