The Scene

Ottawa Kites in Flight fest, Civil War reenactment, cemetery tours set for May 18-19

Mike Holl works to untangle his kite Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Riverfront Park in Ottawa during the Kites in Flight festival.

Let’s go fly a kite along the beautiful Ottawa riverfront!

The two-day Kites in Flight festival will soar into view from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, at Central Riverfront Park, 400 Clinton St.

With a little help from her father Derek, Sophia Waite gets her kite in the air Saturday, May 20, 2023, during the Kites in Flight festival at Riverfront Park in Ottawa. Kite flying as well as other activities took place Saturday and Sunday.

The free, family-friendly event features professional kite flying demonstrations from Chicago Kite Company, an area for the kids to fly their own kites, a candy drop, balloon artists, face painting, bounce houses and more.

Coal Black Exotics will bring its traveling reptile show to the fest from noon to 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The Gincy – It’s Cool to Be Kind Music Show entertains from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, while the Rockin’ with Leonardo Music Show will be featured from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Kites will be available for purchase at the event, or families can bring their own.

The kite festival is one of the largest in the area, with more than 4,000 attendees over the weekend.

While you’re out and about for Kites in Flight on Saturday, stop by the Reddick Mansion for the General W.H.L. Wallace Memorial Civil War reenactment and living history event. Guests can tour the mansion, learn about the Old 11th Illinois regiment and their leader Col. W.H.L. Wallace. The “soldiers” will drill, shoot muskets and participate in what camp life was like. An old-fashioned spinner and a blacksmith will be hard at work during the events. Tickets will be on sale at the door for $20/family or $5/person. Proceeds will go toward fixing the cemetery wall.

On Sunday, stop by the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum, where you’ll learn about Wallace and Dickey history, and see a Civil War flag showcase. Take a bus tour to the Wallace-Dickey Cemetery, which is normally off limits on private property. Enjoy the museum’s displays about the city’s glass industries, I&M Canal history, Radium Girls, veterans and more. The Scouting Heritage wing showcases the history of Scouting, with Baden-Powell and Boyce histories, uniforms, handbooks, patches and more.

Tickets cost $15/person and $25/family, and must be purchased at the door.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois