Ben Franklin and Mary Poppins. Winnie the Pooh and Charlie Brown. They all have one thing in common: They liked to fly kites -- some more successfully than others (sorry, Charlie).
With the arrival of blustery spring days, lots of people will be thinking about grabbing tuppence for paper and strings and creating their own set of wings.
If you're interested in hanging out with fellow kite enthusiasts, or maybe just enjoying a breezy day, here are some places worth checking out over the coming weeks and months:
• More than 1,000 people will gather from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, for Wheaton Park District's annual Go Fly A Kite event at Graf Park, 1701 Manchester Road. The Chicago Fire Kite Team and the Kite Society of Illinois and Wisconsin will provide demos with some spectacular kites and coordinate activities for participants of all ages. Info: wheatonparkdistrict.com.
• Schaumburg Park District is working with districts across the state to raise awareness of the Park District Youth License Plate program by sponsoring its Flying 4 Kids: Kite Fly and Family Picnic from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Bock Neighborhood Center, 1223 W. Sharon Lane. Kite-making kits will be available. The cost is $7 for residents and $10 for others. Info: parkfun.com.
• Cary Park District celebrates National Kite Flying month with an event of its own from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at Lions Park, 1200 Silver Lake Road. There's a kite-flying contest with categories for the biggest, smallest, highest-flying and most unusual kites. Free. Info: carypark.com.
• Free kites will be available to the first 100 kids who attend Aurora's Kite Festival from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, May 19, outside Jake's Bagels at RiverEdge Park, 220 N. Broadway. Info: auroradowntown.org.
• Barrington Park District joins the Breakfast Rotary Club and Leave No Child Inside in sponsoring the KidFest Kite Fly and Nature Learning program from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at Citizens Park, 511 N. Lake Zurich Road. Free kites are available for kids ages 2 through 10, along with other activities that include the chance to climb trees, build birdhouses, or work through an obstacle course. The seventh annual celebration is free. Info: barringtonparkdistrict.org.
• Vernon Hills Park District sponsors its Family Kite Fly from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Century Park Arboretum, 1001 Lakeview Parkway. Admission is free and kites are available for $6. The program helps promote the statewide sale of park district license plates that feature kite designs. Info: vhparkdistrict.org.
• Some of the Midwest's best kite flyers are featured when Elmhurst Park District sponsors its annual Kite Fest from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Berens Park, 493 N. Oaklawn Ave. Free. Info: epd.org.
• Lindenhurst Park District sponsors a free Earth Day Kite Fly from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Slove Park, 2301 Sand Lake Road, next to village hall. You can bring your own kite or pick up a worry-free model at the site. Info: lindenhurstparks.org.
• Naperville Park District's Frontier Kite Fly Festival features gigantic kites, professional demonstrations and kite stunts as well as space for families to fly kites. The time is still to be determined, but the festival will be Sunday, June 3, at Frontier Park, 3380 Cedar Glade Drive. Free. Info: napervilleparks.org.