July 10, 2008

Get out there and play

You won’t have to kiss the Blarney stone to celebrate the luck of the Irish this weekend at the Irish American Heritage Festival in Chicago. The festival will host plenty of Irish music, dancing, activities and food that will keep your Erin Go Bragh-loving family dancing their own jig.

The festival gives a whole new meaning to“clean your plate” during the Mashed Potato Eating Contest on Friday evening. There is also a children’s area for a small daily fee with a moonwalk, face painting, games and other kid-friendly attractions. Learn Irish dances and how to play instruments, then sing along during demonstrations in the Folk Tent.

Speaking of singing, let’s not forget how much your kids love music. They sing in the car, in the shower, almost everywhere they hear music, so let them take their love for singing to the stage with an Irish twist during Sham-ROCK Stars! with the Radio Disney Road Crew on Saturday. The singing contest is open to kids 18 and under who will have a chance to sing a traditional or modern Irish song for a panel of judges. Registration is open online through Friday, but day-of registration closes at noon on Saturday at the festival. Singing begins at 2 p.m.

If your kids aren’t the singing types, they can listen to plenty of live music throughout the festival. The event is hosting five stages for music with performances from Gaelic Storm, The Young Dubliners and Seven Nations, to name a few. For a full line up of music, visit the Web site.

Admission to the Irish American Heritage Festival is $12, $7 seniors and free for children under 12 with a paying adult. The festival takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Irish American Heritage Center, located at 4626 North Knox Ave., Chicago. For more information call (773) 282-7035 or visit www.irish-american.org.

Get out there and play some more

Bring your Big Wheels and your pets to enjoy the Windmill City Festival along the Batavia River Walk this Thursday through Saturday. Activities include the‘LiL 500, Batavia’s Big Wheel Races, Fire Hose Challenge and the Pet Parade. There is also live music in the evenings, a carnival and an arts and crafts show.

Let your kids rev their bike pedals for the‘LiL 500. Batavia’s Big Wheel Races are for kids 2-6 who bring their big wheels and proper headgear. The race begins at noon on Friday in the Turnaround parking lot.

If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a firefighter, gather your family members who are 5 and up to join a team and compete in the Fire Hose Challenge. To win, your team has to send a ball across the opposing team’s line using fire hoses. The challenge is from 1:30-3 p.m. Friday at the Turnaround parking lot.

Bring your furry and not-so-furry friends along on Saturday to join you in a pet parade. Pets with the best trick, most spots, best kissers and have other“bests” will win prizes in several categories. All pets will go home with a“doggie bag” after they participate. Registration is at the main stage from 9:15-9:50 a.m. on Saturday.

For more information and a full line up of activities, call (630) 879-5235 or visit the Web site www.bataviaparks.org.

Outside fun

Dance away your blues at the 11th Annual Chicago Folk and Roots Festival presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday and Sunday. With two main music stages, a dance stage and a kids’ music tent, your kids won’t need to bring their iPods.

The festival also hosts guitar strum-a-thons, open jams and karaoke. Food and beverage vendors will be available, as well as arts and crafts booths. While you’re there, make sure you stop by the Chicago Parent tent to pick up a goody bag.

The Chicago Folk and Roots Festival is at Wells Park, 4400 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Admission to the festival is a suggested $7 donation, $3 seniors 65 and over and kids 11 and under. For more information, call (773) 728-6000 or visit the Web site www.oldtownschool.org.

Piece of the prize

This week, three lucky Chicago Parent readers will win two Roxy Hunter DVDs,“Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost Movie” and“Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman Movie.” Read Chicago Parent’s interview with the star, Aria Wallace, here. To win visit our discussion board.

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