Memorial Day weekend is definitely the kick-off to summer in Chicago. We get an extra day off to spend with the family and enjoy the warm weather. Check out these ideas to make it a fun weekend.
Memorial Day weekend is definitely the kick-off to summer in Chicago. Check out these ideas to make it a fun weekend.
We’ve put together a full day itenerary to help you familycelebrate Memorial Day. From parades to patriotic desserts, we’vegot you covered.
Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend that kicks off the summer season. It’s also a time to remember all the military men and women who have made this country what it is. So grab the kids, pack snacks and drinks, and head to Chicago’s wreath laying ceremony and parade to teach your kids about patriotism. Then end your day with home-made barbecued ribs for an easy summertime dinner. Prepare your ingredients before you head downtown so you’re ready to throw everything in the oven when you get home.
A memorable morning
Start at Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington streets in downtown Chicago) at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014, for the solemn wreath laying ceremony at the eternal flame. The ceremony honors Illinois Gold Star Families who have lost a loved one to war-a reminder to all of us that local families have lost a father, brother, sister, son or daughter to the ongoing conflicts overseas.
Next it’s time to celebrate this great country at the Memorial Day Parade. Also on Saturday, kicking off at noon at State and Lake streets, the parade marches south on State to Van Buren. Considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the U.S., your kids will delight in the marching bands and drum and bugle corps that make their way through downtown.
Back at home
Now that you’re back home, grab the foil-wrapped ribs that have been marinating all day and throw them in the oven. While they’re cooking, let the kids help you make patriotic cupcakes for dessert.
A museum visit
To keep up the patriotic theme the rest of the weekend, visit the 1st Infantry Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Kids of all ages love climbing the military equipment in the Tank Park. Even better, no one will tell them to get off–these are real tanks that will stand up to all sizes of kids clambering all over them. Eleven tanks from World War I to Desert Storm dot the park, along with armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces. Kids can pretend to be in the middle of action when they’re seated atop an M1 Abrams Tank or shooting a howitzer. Make sure your kids wear sturdy gym shoes to climb as some of the tanks are really high off the ground.
Next, head indoors to the museum for an interactive look at America’s war history from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf War. Boys in the midst of an obsession-with-war stage will love walking through the bunkers listening to the sounds of bombs exploding around them. And nothing beats watching the short movie about the landing at Normandy and then watching the wall open just like the ships so that you can walk out into an interactive war experience. When you’re ready for a break, Cantigny has plenty of places to put down a blanket for a picnic lunch or visit their on-site restaurant.
Enjoy kite flying, toddler hay mazes, obstacle courses,hayrides through the fields and a ladybug release (2 p.m. Saturdayand Sunday). Plus, check out the two bull calves, baby goats, lambsand pigs and mid-size and full sized chickens.
The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. The parade kicks off at noon and proceeds south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Participants include many area high schools’ Drum and Bugle Corps as well as many veterans groups.
Fireworks are always the real stars of the show on the Fourth ofJuly. But the holiday is also a great opportunity for all sorts offestive craft projects. Simple red, white, and blue paper lanternswill help set a patriotic mood for any Fourth of Julygathering.
Begin with a piece of 12×12-inch craft paper (red, white, blueor patriotic print). If you’re going to add any additionalembellishments to the paper, such as star-shaped cutouts, shinystar stickers or even just hand-drawn decoration, do it before youbegin cutting. You also can trim the edges of the paper usingpinking shears or other decorative scissors to create a morepolished look.
Once your paper design is ready to go, fold the paper in halfand crease. Use regular scissors to make several (at least five orsix) slits starting at the crease in the paper, taking care not tocut all the way to the end. Leave at least two inches as a border.Unfold the paper and carefully wrap the ends of the paper togetheruntil they meet, maintaining the rounded shape. Match up the endsof the paper evenly. Create a small overlap and apply a layer ofglue or use a stapler to attach the ends together (a stapler seemsto work better for this task). Cut a piece of coordinating ribbonand use the stapler to attach it as a handle to the top of thelantern.
There are two different ways to display your paper lanterns. Youcan string several lanterns along a piece of string or ribbon andhang them up as a display. You even could hang the lanterns on astring of white holiday lights to create a festive outdoor partylook.
Another option is to use flameless, LED tea lights to illuminatethe lanterns from the inside (note that these are not real candles,so there is no fire hazard). If you choose this option, put one tealight in the bottom of each lantern and display them on atable.