By Megan Horst-Hatch
Did winter feel like it would never end? After months of snow and cold, it’s finally time to start celebrating the warm weather. With spring finally in the air, it’s time to step outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer during this time of the year. From festivals to kite flying and community-wide cleanups, the Chicagoland area offers numerous opportunities to get outside and enjoy the weather. The fun extends beyond Chicago, too, with many suburbs offering festivals and fun events. Check out the following events planned in the area this spring.
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Gilman Trail/Blackberry Farm
100 S. Barnes Road
Aurora, IL 60506
Date: April 20, 2013
When you think of spring, it’s only natural to think of spring cleaning. But while you might think spring cleaning involves scrubbing your home’s floors or cleaning out your closet, for the Fox Valley Park District, it means cleaning up some of its parks. There are six parks in the Fox Valley Park District that are slated to be cleaned during the annual Spring Spruce-Up event and volunteers are needed; for a list of locations, check out the park district’s website. What’s involved? Volunteers will be tasked with cleaning up litter, raking and other activities to give each park a quick spruce-up for spring. Groups are welcome to participate and helpers of all ages can clean up the parks, but it is advised to call ahead to volunteer.
Arbor Weekend Celebration
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532
Dates: April 26-28, 2013
Get ready to get your hands dirty with the Arbor Weekend Celebration at The Morton Arboretum. The three-day event celebrates Arbor Day, a day dedicated to planting trees, by inviting visitors to learn about the importance of trees. Activities planned include planting tree seeds and a scavenger hunt within the arboretum. These family-friendly events take place at the Children’s Garden, and regular admission fees apply. After attending the celebration, make sure to take some time to check out the 1,700 acres of woods and gardens at the Arboretum.
Spring Flower Display
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
Date: Now through May 12, 2013
What’s springtime without seeing flowers in bloom? While your garden might not be in full bloom just yet, you can still see a variety of flowers all under one roof. At the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood, you can check out the Spring Flower Display, located in the conservatory’s Horticulture Hall. Hydrangeas, azaleas and camellias will all be on display, ensuring you can find quite a few colors under one roof. After seeing the display, make sure you explore the rest of the more than 2,000 species of plants located at the conservatory.
3100 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Date: May 17-19, 2013
For a music-filled weekend, check out Mayfest. The Lakeview neighborhood’s annual event features three days of festival food and beer. The event also includes merchants’ booths so you can pick up something new for your home this spring. Mayfest’s main draw is the live music, with bands like 16 Candles, Hairbangers Ball and The Personnel having performed at the festival in the past. The event draws quite the crowd, with more than 15,000 people participating every year. You can keep the festival spirit going after hours by stopping in at a pub nearby.
Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
Lake Shore Drive and Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Date: May 4, 2013
Is there any better location for kite flying than the Windy City? Whether you want to show off your kite-flying skills or try kite flying for the first time, check out Chicago Kids and Kites Festival. Located near Montrose Harbor on Cricket Hill, the free event includes face painting and crafts. Free paper kites are also available that you can design and decorate, ensuring everyone can try flying a personalized kite near Chicago’s scenic lakefront. Kites will also be available for purchase from ChicagoKite. To see if the event is still on due to weather conditions, contact 311.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.