This weekend really pops. Smarty Pants is putting on a major (and free!) balloon show. A superhero-themed race will have kids blitzing through Lincoln Park. And St. Patrick’s Day events and parades are kicking off. Here’s where to join the fun.


Logan Square

Smarty Pants Big Balloon Show
Ooh and aah as the dynamite kids’ entertainer performs magic, slapstick comedy and balloon sculpting. You’ll witness the world’s tiniest balloon clown as he tries to balance atop a half dozen balloons and meet Peanut, a shy but friendly balloon elephant. Held Sat., 11 a.m. Liberty Bank. Free. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Wacky 5K/10K Run & Walk
Let your inner Batman or Wonder Woman run wild. This race, which zips through Lincoln Park, has a superhero theme. Come dressed as your comic book favorite. There will be a costume contest and party inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Held Sun., 10 a.m. $32-42 in advance; $40-$50 onsite. All ages. Event details.

Band Together: A Kindie Music Concert 
Kick up your heels for the official launch of a local kindie music sampler CD. This live gig celebrates the album’s never-been-heard-before tracks by some of Chicago’s leading children’s musicians (Human Tim + Robot Tim, Istvan & His Imaginary Band, Jeanie B!, more). Ticket sales benefit Intonation Music Workshop. Held Sat., 3 p.m. Lincoln Hall. $15/adults; $5/kids. All ages. Event details.


Mardi Gras Family Pizza Party
Break out the beads and put on your mask — it’s Mardi Gras time! Kids can get in on the fun at Purple Monkey, which has a G-rated celebration planned. Hear NYC kindie band FunikiJam play zydeco, get a taste of Cajun culture and go on a bayou adventure with Mardi the Frog. Held Fri., 5:45-7:15 p.m. Purple Monkey Playroom. $15 for one child & 1 adult; $10 siblings under 6 months; additional adult $5; pizza & drinks $8/person. Ages 0-4. Event details.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park Art Center’s Second Sundays
Jump into two projects led by artists and made for kids. Suzanne Sebold teaches how to make all-natural egg-based tempura paint and create a cover for your own “painted journal.” Also join Darrell Pulliam, who will show how to make Native American vests from paper bags. Held Sat., 1-4 p.m. Free. Ages 5-9. Event details.

Lincoln Square

Bellybum Clearance Sale
First, the sad news: Bellybum Boutique in Lincoln Square/Northcenter is closing. The good news: You can score amazing deals on its selection of cloth diapers, green baby goods, and pre- and postnatal mom and parent gear at a huge closing sale. Merch is discounted 15-90 percent. Held Through Mar. 26. Event details.

Forest Park

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Put on your green and head to Forest Park for its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The annual shindig is one of the largest in the western suburbs and has 70-plus highlights, including bagpipe bands, Medinah Shriner’s Mini Choppers, the Roaring 57s and Clown Unit, floats, Irish dancers, and more. Held Sat., 1 p.m. Madison Street in downtown Forest Park. Free. All ages. Event details.


Maple Sugaring Days
See how early settlers tapped the trees and turned the sap into maple syrup at this sweet family event. Along with watching demos, you’ll learn to dance a reel with live musical accompaniment, visit “try-it” stations to practice drilling or carrying a yolk and bucket, make a tree leaf rubbing craft, watch a cooking demo of maple popcorn balls, and more. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m. Naper Settlement. $12/adult; $8/youth (age 4-12). All ages. Event details.

What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Kelly Aiglon

Photo: Smarty Pants