Keep their heads in the clouds

Kids big and small love to look skyward to check out what is in the air up there. Several festivals this summer offer lots of high-flying fun. From dueling kites to soaring balloons, kids will be delighted by the wonders they see.


At the second annual Frontier Kite Fly Festival in Naperville 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 7 and 8, families not only see kites up to 40 feet long, but they can fly their own kites. Kids can learn new tips for flying their kites or try out a stunt kite with the help of experts.

Want to make your kids go crazy? Let them see the Rok kite fighters who use a Japanese Rokkaku kite in an attempt to either cut their opponent’s line or force the kite to the ground. It’s a thrilling sport that gives children a unique look into the world of kiting.

“It’s kite flying as you’ve never seen it before,” says Erin McNulty, event manager for the Naperville Park District.

To find out more about this free festival, visit the Naperville Park District Web site at

Later in the summer, the Bourbonnais Township Park District hosts the Perry Farm Kite Festival. During the festival, held Aug. 16 and 17, professionals compete in multiple precision kiting techniques.The fun isn’t left to the professionals, though. Kids can take workshops to learn how to build a kite or even get their kite repaired at a Kite Hospital on site. Families can relax together as they watch an aerial ballet of kite flying set to music. Visit the park district Web site at for more information.


At The Eyes to the Skies Festival in Lisle July 3-6, 15 to 20 hot air balloons launch twice a day. Past years have featured balloons with unique shapes including a wine bottle and hamburger. The first launch occurs at 6 a.m. and the second between 5 and 7 p.m., depending on the winds.

Kids can talk to the pilots and have their pictures taken. The more adventurous can take a ride in a tethered hot air balloon—$20 for adults and $15 for kids. This festival even boasts the only handicapped accessible hot air balloon in the country, Serena’s Song.

For admission prices and a full schedule of events, including national and local bands and children’s events, go to


If kites and balloons aren’t quite up to your speed, trek downtown to the 50th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show Aug. 15-17. A Friday afternoon show at 3 p.m. features the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Army’s Golden Nights Parachute Team to kick off the event.

Families can find a comfortable piece of lakefront from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street, but most events center around North Avenue Beach. The water show begins on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m., with the air show commencing at 11 a.m. Both days’ events end at 4 p.m. To get the latest news and to find out which bands are performing, visit

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