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Lisle's Eyes to the Skies takes flight

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 9:54 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:48 a.m. CDT
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People prep hot air balloons for flight during the Eyes In The Skies balloon launch Friday June 29, 2012. Staff photo by Erica Benson | snapshots.mysuburbanlife.com/1494735
Caption
Ricky Guerin of Lisle enjoys a corn dog at the Eyes to the Skies carnival last year. Staff photo by Erica Benson | snapshots.mysuburbanlife.com/1494735

LISLE – This weekend, residents will have the opportunity to see Lisle from about a 1,000 feet up. 

This year’s Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival will be held through Saturday at Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle. In addition to the hot air balloons that residents can watch and ride, there will be musical performances, a children’s area, craft fair, parade, fireworks, about 30 food and beverage vendors, and a carnival that will extend to Sunday.

“I truly believe family memories are made at this festival,” said Lisle resident Mike Shuta, co-chairman of a committee of 26 volunteers that organized the festival. “The whole thing is for the community and we like to see people having a good time.”

Weather-permitting, Shuta said he expects 40,000 to 50,000 residents to attend the festival this week.

Admission to the festival is $5 for residents 6 and older and free for children 5 and younger.

Shuta said proceeds from the festival will be donated to Kiwanis Club of Lisle, Lisle Lions Club, Lisle Partners for Parks, Lisle Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lisle Education Foundation. 

A new addition to the festival this year is the Mobile Mountain. Located in the children’s area, this series of apparatus includes a climbing wall, bounce house, slides and water challenge.

Pam Shuta, another festival organizer, said this year the festival will have more than 20 hot air balloons, and about six of the balloons will be uniquely shaped, including one from the musical “Wicked.”

Each day of the festival, the balloons will take flight, weather-permitting, at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and a balloon glow will be held around 8:30 p.m. Pam Shuta said residents will be allowed onto the balloon field to take photos and talk to pilots.

Tethered balloon rides are also available in the mornings and evenings on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rides are $20 for adults and $15 for children, and are located east of the bridge on Short Street outside the festival entrance.  

The nation’s first wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon, named Serena’s Song, will be providing rides to children and adults with disabilities at the festival as well.

To reserve a flight, contact SEASPAR at seaspar.org or 630-960-7600. 

“It’s very cool to be up there and feel like you are floating,” Pam Shuta said. “It’s an experience you don’t have [available] every day.” 

She added that bands at the festival will include American English, Ambrosia and Chicago 6, which features former Chicago Bears and 1985 Super Bowl champions Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael. 

Festival parking will be $5 at designated locations and will include a shuttle to and from the festival. 

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