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Take part in a Los Alamos tradition

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By Special to the Monitor

Looking back at your childhood, what memories come to mind? Having family picnics at the park? Running through an open field with your friends? Gazing at the sky making shapes out of the clouds? Were you young enough to have attended the Los Alamos Kite Festival?

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For the 13th year, the Los Alamos Arts Council presents the Los Alamos Kite Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the soccer fields in Overlook Park in White Rock. Children of all ages are welcome to come and join the festivities. Whether you build a kite, fly a kite, enjoy a picnic with family and friends, or just take in the artful scene, this is the time to join this community tradition.

Thanks to the funding from Los Alamos National Bank, the Kite Festival will continue to be a free event.

The Kite Festival weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with the first Los Alamos Summer Concerts. Kite artists will be on the field to display their kites and perform a night kite fly demonstration. In this event, small lights are attached to kites before they are launched into the night sky.

The main festival is held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The day includes music, food, kite-building workshop for kids and a lot of kite flying.

Activities include the traditional Candy Drop. Since 2002, a bag full of candy is launched on a giant kite ready to fly over the festival field. As children look up in anticipation and chase the kite along its flight path, the bag is split open and the candy falls from the sky.

Kite artists from all over the Southwest fly large, shaped kites, handmade flying works of art, demonstrate stunt kite flying and grace the field with incredibly colorful banners.

Free kite building workshops for kids will be held from noon-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Kids are invited to build and decorate simple kites with assistance from volunteers.

Kids use both their craft and artistic skills to put hundreds of these kites up in the sky over the two-day festival. For the younger children (ages 6 and younger), pre-built kites are available to decorate. A free T-shirt is given to every child who builds or decorates a kite.

Also available at the Kite Festival is the kite hospital, staffed with kite medics to mend the inevitable broken and injured kites. For those who do not wish to build a kite, a kite vendor will be at the festival with a selection of ready-to-fly kites for purchase. In addition, food vendors will be on hand to sell food and drinks.

Everyone young and those young at heart is invited to join the fun. Bring a kite, build a kite, fly a kite and take in the artful scene as lasting memories are made through this Los Alamos tradition.

For more information about this event, or information on how to support Los Alamos Arts Council activities, call 663-0477. The Los Alamos Arts Council also sponsors the Brown Bag series at Fuller Lodge, the Missoula Children’s Theater, the Pumpkin Glow, the Guitars and Gateaux series and two arts and crafts fairs.