Friends of Grand Island Parks host third-annual Kite Festival

Local4 News at 6 Saturday
Published: Aug. 6, 2023 at 11:27 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The third-annual Grand Island Kite Festival took place on Saturday at the Veterans Athletic Complex. The event is sponsored by Friends of Grand Island Parks.

Vikki Deuel from Friends of Grand Island Parks said it all started as a way to get out the house during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The objective was to get families outside away from their computers to just enjoying the great outdoors. It’s also a fundraising event for Friends of Grand Island Parks.

Kite flyers have came from all across the Midwest and a far south as Texas to participate in the event. Some kites were to 50 feet, but there were a variety of kites in the air. There were also vendors selling kites and some who came just top enjoy the event.

The ‘ceiling height’ a kite can be flown is 500 feet, because otherwise it would interfere with air traffic from Central Nebraska Regional Airport. Deuel said there’s one goal of kite festival.

“Our goal was to get families together outside, and it seems like we’re always in a big hurry to go somewhere,” Deuel said. “Go to a game, go here, go there, and not just kickback, relax and have fun together.”

Deuel said the big goal is to get families out, bond, enjoy nature and have a good day outside. She said some of the kite flyers at the event are professional, adding, Veterans Athletic Complex is the perfect location for the event.

“What makes the location is we’ve got an open field, you don’t have powerlines, and you’ve got trees on the side, but you don’t have trees in the middle of your flight pattern,” Deuel said.

Deuel said that makes it a good and safe place to fly a kite. The event has grown in its three years, and part of that has been because local kite flyers are inviting their friends from other areas.

“Just flying kites together with you know a lot of our friends,” said Mark Brandt, participant from Clear Lake, Iowa. “A lot of the big kite flyers we see each other at festivals throughout the year. We all go to probably you know eight to 12 festivals a year, and we get to fly together, and we get to meet just a ton of nice people and just put smiles on everybody’s faces, and it’s just a way to make everybody happy.”

Brandt said his passion for kites started as a kid. He said it starts with one kite, next thing you know you’re up to 100. Even if you’re not an avid kite flyer, Kite Festival is more about time spent together.

“Just the family time. You get out here, it’s nice out, you get to see the big turnout from the community and the kids get to run around and burn off some energy, and they enjoy seeing this, especially the bigger kits,” said Tyler Noel, Grand Island.

Noel said the event brings diversity, reinforces a sense of community, and provides a family event.