Soar high at the LAAC’s Kite Festival

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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? How about attending the Los Alamos Kite Festival?

For the 12th year, the Los Alamos Arts Council will present the Los Alamos Kite Festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Overlook Park in White Rock. Children of all ages are welcome to come and join in the festivities. Whether you want to 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 in this community tradition.

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

The Kite Festival weekend kicks off on Friday with one of Gordon’s Summer Concerts. Kite artists will be on the field with their kites on display and a night kite fly demonstration.

In this event, small lights are attached to kites before they are launched into the night sky. It is an amazing light show over White Rock.

The main festival is held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 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 their large shaped kites and hand-made 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 very simple kites with assistance from volunteers.

Kids use both their craft and artistic skills to put literally 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 their kite, a kite vendor will be at the festival with a selection of ready-to-fly kites for purchase. In addition, a number of food vendors will be on hand to sell a tempting variety of foods and drinks.

Everyone young at heart is invited. Bring a kite, build a kite, fly a kite, or take in the artful scene as you create memories with this Los Alamos tradition.

For more information about this event, call the Los Alamos Arts Council at 663-0477.