Children of all ages will find oodles of fun things to do at fair prices this Independence Day holiday in Lisle. Grab your camera, get ready for music and bring the family to savor some summer bliss.
A must to include is Lisle's Eyes to the Skies Festival, running Wednesday to Saturday, July 3 to 6, and concluding with a carnival-only day Sunday, July 7. The committee has made a few changes to its children's programming as it takes a break from the lumberjack show this year.
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If you goWhat: Lisle's 31st annual Eyes to the Skies festival
When: 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 3; noon to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 4 to 6; carnival only noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 7
Where: Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle
Details: Hot air balloon rides, craft fair, entertainment, children's activities; fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; parade at 11 a.m. Thursday
Admission: $5 adults; free for children 5 and younger, free to Lisle residents with photo ID from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, and free to active duty military personnel and veterans with photo ID on Thursday
Info: (630) 964-3410 or eyestotheskies.org
Starting Wednesday, July 3, early risers will want to watch the hot air balloon launch, scheduled for 5:30 to 6 a.m. daily through Saturday, weather permitting. There is no cost to attend. Bring a folding chair or spread out a blanket to be mesmerized as these silent giants lift off and float up, up and away. Tethered balloon rides are available at a fee.
Serena's Song, a specially designed wheelchair-accessible balloon, will be on hand to give children of all ages with special needs a free tethered ride. Register in advance through SEASPAR to guarantee a spot at seaspar.org.
Flights are scheduled in the evenings as well at 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. To go aloft, balloons need a gentle breeze from the northeast, no rain and no chance of lightning.
With a little preparation and a touch of cleverness, kids ages 12 and younger may decorate their bikes in a patriotic theme for a chance to win a prize prior to the Lisle Independence Day Parade at 10:30 a.m. sharp Thursday in the parking lot at Lisle Junior High School, 5207 Center St. All decorated bikes and riders may take part in the community's parade that travels down Main Street starting at 11 a.m. in downtown Lisle.
With all the red, white and blue banners, floats and flags, the parade will fascinate all viewers, but especially children who enjoy collecting candy. After the parade, everyone is welcome to enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social sponsored by the Lisle Heritage Society at the Museums at Lisle Station Park. There will be free ice cream sundaes and hot dogs for all ages. Admission is free.
Starting at noon, families will want to be in the children's area in the center of the Eyes to the Skies festival grounds for an afternoon filled with activities and entertainment. Admission to the festival grounds for adults and children older than 6 is $5; free for younger children. Carnival rides are individually priced.
With proof of residency, Lisle families receive free entry into the festival grounds before 3 p.m. on Thursday. Veterans and active military members with proof enter free all day.
Once inside the festival, most children's activities are free, but a few have a nominal fee. Organizers of the children's area, Tina and Kellie Klocko, assembled a list of programming for families along with opportunities for kids to explore and express creativity. The pair even thought of kid-friendly seats for the children's area porta-potties.
Parents will enjoy watching their offspring have fun with picnic games, crafts and coloring.
Tina Klocko said that on Thursday, visitors should not miss the Lisle Library's opportunity to decorate a planter and plant a seed from noon to 6 p.m. If your kid likes animals, the lineup of Robin's Dog Stars Trick Act at 2 p.m., the Animal Quest show at 3 p.m. and Dave DiNaso's Traveling World of Reptiles at 4 p.m. is a triple pleasure. An audience favorite follows at 5:15 p.m. with Magic by Randy, who also performs at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, July 6.
Everyone will enjoy the action at the Getting Excited About Science show at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Zumbatomics, a high-energy and child-friendly workout, will have a small fee for its activities. It makes a first-time appearance at Eyes from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and again from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday.
Balloon School is new to the festival this year but a great opportunity for everyone to learn what it takes to have a hot-air balloon rise and descend. The 10-minute presentations are at 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday at the balloon field.
The July Fourth fireworks set to patriotic music are a Lisle tradition at 9:45 p.m. Smaller fireworks displays will soar at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
To round-out each day and evening, the unique island VanKampen Stage location offers plenty of hillside seating for blankets and lawn chairs. See the schedule for the great acts performing there and at the Riverview Soundstage. The latest festival information is at eyestotheskies.org.
On Friday, the children's area at the Eyes festival offers inflatable bouncing, art projects and video games starting at 3 p.m.
Brookfield Zoo will bring its "Dinosaur Alive!" games, trivia and prizes from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and repeats from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. The Morton Arboretum, located in Lisle, will be on hand at the Eyes festival from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday to teach kids about trees and remind families of its Garden Maze and Children's Garden.
Organizer Tina Klocko said not to miss the Mathnasium Naperville from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and the Colonial Café and Ice Cream's cool ice cream eating contest at 6 p.m. It's a must to sign up for the contest at 5:30 p.m. in the children's area.
On Saturday, the festival opens at noon. New this year to the children's area is Bricks4kidz interactive play area, Drawing with Young Rembrandts and Language Stars, all from noon to 7 p.m. The same times apply to popular festival repeats: HTHT Science Made Fun, Legoland discovery center and making mobiles with The Butterfly Lady.
The Shedd Aquarium's interactive kids area offers a look at stingrays from noon to 7 p.m.
The lineup of kid shows on Saturday includes the Radio Disney Road Crew at 12:30 p.m., the Wonderful World of Puppets with Marilyn Price at 1:30 p.m., Language Stars at 2 p.m., Jason Kollum juggling comedy show at 3:30 p.m. and the Big Run Wolf Ranch animal show at 6 p.m.
This is not everything children can do over the Independence Day holiday in Lisle, but a good representation of how Lisle prides itself as a family-oriented community.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle regularly in Neighbor.