Kite Flying Festival takes off Saturday at Sherando Park

Posted: April 5, 2013

The Winchester Star

Kite flying is set Saturday at Sherando Park. It is free and open to the public.

Stephens City — The sky over Sherando Park will be filled with color and aerial acrobatics Saturday for the 12th annual Kite Flying Festival.

With weather forecasted in the 50s and sunny, organizers are hoping hundreds of people will come out to enjoy the spectacle and try their hand at getting a kite off the ground, said Karen Vacchio, public information officer for the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department. The free event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Since it started, the festival has always been a fun, active way for families to get outside and enjoy time together flying kites, she said.

“When it is in full force, if you look up and see all the colors against the sky, it is really a beautiful sight,” she said.

People can bring their own kites, and there will be vendors on hand selling them, she said.

When not trying it themselves, people can watch members of the Richmond Air Force Kite Club, who come out each year to offer demonstrations on just how intricate kite flying can be.

Vacchio is excited to have them return. Once they have the kites in the air “dancing and swirling” in choreographed movements, it is “pretty amazing,” she said.

The club will rope off a section of the park and fly kites of all shapes and sizes set to music, said club member Charles Stonestreet of North Chesterfield. Members fly everything from simple single-line kites to larger ones controlled by several strings.

The intricate dance of fabric and string is meant to demonstrate the sport behind the hobby, he said.

“People I know who have been doing this 20 years probably still don’t know all the things you can do with a kite,” he said.

One of the things Stonestreet likes showing about kite flying is how it leads to improvement in other areas. As people come to understand the rhythm of a kite and work with the wind, they are learning hand-eye-foot coordination.

“You can train your body to work with your brain and your muscles, and you become more and more able to make your body do things that you haven’t even dreamed of if you go out with your imagination,” he said.

Challenging the imagination with what can be done with a kite also spills over into other areas, such as school and work, he said. “Once you stir somebody’s imagination, they go a lot further than people who sit in front of the TV all the time.”

The experts are great to watch, but it is just as much fun to see people trying their own hand at getting a kite in the air, Vacchio said. The open space where the event takes place has plenty of space for people to run and play.

The park is filled with the timeless image of children running into the wind, struggling to get a kite off the ground, she said.

“Nothing is quite the same as the facial expressions people have when they first get their kite up, particularly if they have had challenges with it,” she said.

There will be kite and craft vendors at the event, and Greenwood Deli will have food available for purchase.

Information

Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department’s 12th annual Kite Flying Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Sherando Park in Stephens City. Admission is free. There will be food and craft vendors at the event. Call 540-665-5678.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com