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Volunteers prepare for Eyes to the Skies

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:33 a.m. CDT

LISLE – Lisle residents soon will be able to see hot air balloons rise with the sun and glow with the sunset while listening to music, going on rides and watching fireworks. 

The Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival will be July 3 to 6 at Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St.

Activities at the festival include a carnival, which will remain open through July 7, musical performances, a children’s area, craft fair, fireworks and tethered hot air balloon rides. A variety of food and beverages also will be available. 

“It’s really something [Lisle residents] can take some pride in,” said Lisle resident Roger Leone, one of the festival organizers. “People come from as close as Downers Grove and as far as Iowa and Wisconsin.”

A committee of about 20 volunteers met regularly for the past year to plan the festival, Leone said, and each member was responsible for a certain aspect. 

“We are a very dedicated group of people, and it couldn’t be done without everybody involved,” Leone said. 

With about a week remaining before opening day, Leone said the committee is ensuring each member has fulfilled his or her assignment, because setup begins Monday. 

Leone said the committee also strives to make the festival aesthetically pleasing each year. 

“Imagine having 50,000 people at your house for Thanksgiving day; you want to make sure the table cloth is ironed,” Leone said. 

In addition to organizing the festival, volunteers also are needed to run the festival, Leone said. The festival committee is looking for volunteers to help with the children’s area, admissions, setup, takedown and garbage pickup.

In 2012, more than 3,800 hours of volunteer work were put into the festival, Leone said.

“That shows you how many people are needed to put this on,” Leone said. 

Leone encouraged residents to watch the festival’s balloon launch, which will be at 6 a.m. each day of the festival. He said 2,000 to 3,000 people typically gather in the balloon field to watch. 

“It’s a great thing to see when the sun is coming up; it’s a really fantastic sight,” Leone said.

Leone also encouraged residents to see the balloon glow, which will be at 8:30 p.m. each day of the festival. For this event, each balloons’ fire is lit while the balloon still is tethered to the ground.

Leone said he looks forward to setting up the festival

“I personally love getting that first person through,” Leone said. “Everyone worked so hard, and it’s finally here. It’s like seeing your child walk for the first time.” 

For information on the festival, visit www.eyestotheskies.org. 

To sign up to volunteer, visit www.eyestotheskies.org/volunteers or contact the festival office at 630-541-6095. All volunteers will receive a T-shirt. 

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