Season of Kites and Marbles

| 4/23/2014 9:02:00 AM

Country MoonI have the fever again. I get it every year, and every year it is worse than the year before. The fever, spring fever that is, usually hits epidemic proportions around this time when the warm rays of the April sun beckon people of all ages to come outside and play and be a kid again.

Ever since I was in grade school, these early spring days meant two things to me – kites and marbles, and not always in that order. Being not quite baseball weather yet, these two pastimes filled the bill to get us outside with something to occupy our time.

The gusty April breezes were just made for flying kites and, I have to admit, nothing makes a person of any age feel like a kid again like watching your kite soar higher and higher in the blue sky. Of course there is a skill to be learned here concerning judging the wind. Too strong of a wind and your kite can be torn to shreds and end up in a faraway tree; too little wind and your kite is back on the ground.

Technically, what keeps a kite adrift is when air flows above its surface and creates low pressure above its wings and high pressure below the wings. As with anything, kites can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. When we were kids, there was something special about making our own.

All we needed were a couple dowels, a couple garbage bags, some string and tape. I learned this was a more economical way to go since my kite-flying abilities weren’t always up to par and sometimes my masterpiece would come back to earth in shreds. This was also easier on my allowance than store-bought ones.

Kites are big business, though. Sport kites are flown in aerial ballet, sometimes as part of a competition. Grand Haven hosts the Great Lakes Kite Festival each year here in Michigan, filling the sky with kites of all shapes and sizes. World famous stunt kite fliers perform to music while kites larger than a school bus hover nearby. This year the festival runs May 16-18.

4/27/2014 5:52:59 AM

I couldn't agree more...even as an adult, I still LOVE to fly kites! Terrific article! -Mary, Windy Meadows Farm

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