Festivals kick off holiday weekend fun in city, suburbs

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Festivals across Chicago and the suburbs are kicking off the busy holiday weekend. (WLS)

The weather is cooperating for the number of area holiday weekend festivals, including McHenry County's Lakeside Festival in Crystal Lake.

Some folks got an early start on the weekend fun Thursday at North Avenue Beach. Many wanted to get outside and spend as much time in the warm sunshine as possible. Sasha Keenan and her girlfriends came down for the day from Naperville.

"We came to come to the beach it's something different than just sitting in Naperville and doing the same thing we usually do, so we decided it would be fun to take the train and come hang out at the beach for a day," said Keenan.

Temperatures were nice and cool along the lake Thursday, very different from the cold, wet conditions on Wednesday. Sue Frainey brought her daughter down for a day-long volleyball tournament.

"We were a little nervous getting up this morning because it was only 57 when we got up we are from Frankfort but I'm glad we did its beautiful out here," said Frainey. "Hopefully we're gonna bring home the championship so it will be a late day for us. We'll go home and get ready for the 4th tomorrow."

And in Crystal Lake, preparations for the 35th annual Lakeside Festival took some time, but they are ready for a tremendous turnout.

"We draw from a very large population, from McHenry County naturally because we're located here, but also from Lake County, Cook County, and as far away as Rockford," said Ron Russell, Lakeside Festival.

It was postcard-perfection on Thursday night as hot air balloons glowed at Lisle's Eyes to the Skies Festival.

"When they're all lit up at night, it's really cool just to look over and see everything up there, and it's beautiful," said Maggie Rancich.

The dramatic canvas of colors ushering in the start of the holiday weekend as the crowds came out for the festival's first of three nights.

Others answered the call of summer as live music and amusement rides brought people out to Oak Forest for Oak Fest.

In Chicago's Union Park, a vibrant cultural celebration was had at the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life.
"Just wanted to come out and see all the great stuff. The t-shirts, the purses, and all that good stuff, and taste some of the food," said Amanda Wyatt.

For the 17th year in a row, Ian Heron of Valley Jerk Spot restaurant was serving up his delicious chicken.

ABC7's Eric Horng: "What's the secret to your recipe?"
Heron: "It's a secret. I can't really tell you right now."
Horng: "Please?"
Heron: "It's from Jamaica, special spices from Jamaica."

In Lisle, the 32nd annual Eyes To The Skies festival is featuring a total of 20 balloons this year. The event is partnering with a new promoter that is bringing seven new balloon shapes to the celebration.

Related Topics:
entertainmentfestival4th of july eventCrystal LakeChicago - Downtown
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