Eyes to the Skies marks 30th anniversary in Lisle
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media June 28, 2012 3:30PM
Hot air balloons inflate for a previous Eyes to the Skies Festival in Lisle. | FILE PHOTO
Eyes to the Skies
♦ June 29-July 1
♦ Lisle Community Park, Lisle
♦ Tickets, $5
♦ (630) 541-6095
Updated: July 1, 2012 11:54AM
Nearly 25 balloons will be a part of the 30th annual Lisle Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival.
The festival will be from 3 to 11 p.m. June 29 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 30 and July 1 in Lisle’s Community Park.
Visitors can expect daily launches of hot air balloons and nightly balloon glows, a carnival, children’s area, Lumberjack show, craft fair, live music, three nights of fireworks, food court and more.
They aren’t planning on anything elaborate or over-the-top to honor the three-decade mark, said spokesman Roger Leone.
“It’s more that it has been around for 30 years and we’ve gone through the ebb and tide of the economy and tried to remain fresh. Nothing more spectacular than the great festival that it is.”
In addition to the two dozen hot air balloons, there will be five sculpted balloons, like the Planter’s Peanut guy or Humpty Dumpty, he said.
The balloons launch at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. weather permitting, he said. Every night at dusk is a balloon glow, when all the balloons light up their envelopes at the same time (while tethered to the ground).
“It’s incredibly, incredibly beautiful,” he said. “The colors are spectacular. It’s like looking at a giant garden.”
The fest is spread out over 110 acres, so even though there is so much to do and thousands attend, it doesn’t feel overly crowded, he said.
There will be two stages — the main stage or Island stage; and the smaller, Cabaret stage.
The Lumberjack show is a continuous show featuring men doing “all kinds of stuff you would imagine a lumberjack would do,” he said; like log rolls, cutting contests and more.
“It’s neat entertainment. It’s a throwback to the old carnival days,” he said. “It’s just chainsaws and axes and lumber.”
Visitors could spend an entire day in the Children’s Area. It is jam-packed with activities like face painting, games, crafts, inflatables, demonstrations by dance, gymnastics, martial arts and soccer schools, free mini-makeovers by Sweet ‘n’ Sassy, a mobile game theater and a video game tent, interactive areas by Brookfield Zoo, Legoland and Shedd Aquarium, make your own bracelet, magic shows, reptile show, an appearance by the Radio Disney road crew and more.
“You could go all day and not do the same thing twice,” he said.
There is also a craft fair on the fest’s main thoroughfare with about 40 crafters selling artwork, jewelry, clothing and more.
Food vendors include Annabell’s BBQ, Best Chicago Meat Co., Chinn’s 34th Street Fishery, Genoa Italian Concession, Hickory River Smoke House, Melting Pot, Strawberry Patch and the Taco Factory, to name a few.
Main stage entertainment on June 30 includes guitarist Daryl Stuermer of Genesis and Phil Collins at 8 p.m.; with 7th Heaven performing on the cabaret stage at 9 p.m. July 1’s main stage acts include Arra at 6 p.m. and Think Floyd USA at 8 p.m. Wedding Banned plays at 9 p.m. July 1 on the cabaret stage.
Fireworks will be presented each night north of the balloon field at 9:45 p.m. The grand finale on July 1 will be timed to music.
“Every summer festival talks about family fun and all that … but it’s just a really nice way to spend a warm summer afternoon and evening,” he said. “Expect a very clean festival, a very well-run festival. You’re going to feel like you’re a part of something special.”