There will be plenty happening on the ground and in the air this weekend as Macomb hosts the Art, Wind, and Fire Festival. It features three annual events: the Gazebo Art Festival, the Macomb Kite Festival, and the Macomb Balloon Rally.
The annual Gazebo Art Festival will take place in Chandler Park on Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Gayle Carper, who is on the art festival’s organizing committee, said a new purchase award will be made this year. It is being done in honor of the late Melissa Inman, an artist who was actively engaged in the community.
“We’re going to purchase an item and donate it to City Hall -- where Melissa’s husband is the mayor -- and have it displayed with a plaque in memory of Melissa Inman,” said Carper.
She said Inman judged last year’s Gazebo Art Festival.
Carper said 18 artists will be exhibiting this year. They will be selling paintings, photography, jewelry, and -- for the first time – the festival will have an artist selling mosaics.
“One of the best things about this kind of art fair is the chance to talk to the artists about what they do. Artists love to talk about it. They love to answer questions about how they come up with their ideas,” said Carper.
“It’s also a great chance to get handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts.”
The festival will also offer art activities for children. Concessions will be sold and a used book sale will also be held in the park.
The rain location will be the Macomb Art Center.
The 5th annual Macomb Kite Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday in Veteran’s Park.
Organizers say a kite vendor booth will be on site, and children can make free kites at a kite-making booth. The festival will also feature a giant kite show, a candy drop, kite fights, and more.
The festival is free, as it parking for the event. Concessions will be sold and organizers said you may also pack your own picnic.
The 33rd annual Macomb Balloon Rally will showcase 21 hot air balloons, weather permitting. The activities will center around Vince Grady Field on the campus of Western Illinois University.
Jodi Pospeschil, who has helped organize the event for 18 years, said flights will take place Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday evening. She added some will be competitive flights such as the Hare and Hound race.
“One balloon flies and the other balloons take off and try to land as close to that balloon as they can,” she said.
The theme for the balloon rally is “steampunk,” and a steampunk costume contest will be held Friday evening. First prize is a trip in one of the balloons.
The rally will wrap up Saturday evening with a balloon glow.
“The ones that light up best against the night sky I think are the favorites,” said Pospeschil.
“My husband and I crew for Larry Owen, and his pirate balloon is always a favorite because it’s got a pirate ship on one side and a skull and cross swords on the other.”
Pospeschil said that during the balloon glow people will get to walk the field, meet the pilots, and get an up-close look at the inflatable giants.