Fly a Kite
Fly a Kite
It’s not about knotted and crossed string, nor about crumpled kites torn by wind. It’s about . . . calzones!
Hold onto your kite strings! It’s almost spring!
That first year at the kite festival, we arrived at noon. I had heard about the festival for years – kites! decorating stations! t-shirts! all free! – so I packed light: only a few small kites to use as back-ups if (when) the kids, aged 4, 8 and 10, ruined their free ones. But we arrived too late, and the fun freebies had run out hundreds of kids ago.
I found some stickers and markers in the van, so we spent an hour or so assembling, bedazzling and attempting to fly our tiny back-up kites, which I am now convinced were intended for decorative use only. It was a cold, cloudy, windless day, and we finally gave up and headed to Mac & Bob’s for calzones, which were so delicious we all remembered the day fondly and happily returned to the festival the next year.
This time, we were ready. We arrived early enough to get in on the freebies, and we had the van loaded for bear with three big diamond-shaped kites, extra string, snacks, drinks and a football. That year, however, the day was blistering, and the wind was so strong we could have flown one of the kids had we brought heavier-test string. Decorating the free kites was a big hit, but when the kids tried to fly them, the wind literally took them away.
All three of those kites blew away in the first few minutes – I erroneously assumed that kids aged 5, 9 and 11 could hold on to their own kite strings, even in a bluster – but I was prepared, with: back-up kites! But during assembly, different parts kept blowing away (it was gusty, I tell you!), especially the kite tails, which are apparently vital to a kite’s flight pattern. The kids kept getting their strings crossed, and their kites ended up crumpled and in impossible knots.
After the second innocent bystander got nailed by our football (accidents both, I was assured), we started packing up. Of course I had dressed the kids for last year’s weather, so they were hot, tired and sunburned by the time we gave up and headed over to Mac & Bob’s. Bob’s calzones are really good, so when we saw the kite festival advertised the next year, we were all in favor of giving it another go.
By the third year (third time’s the charm!), we had this thing figured out. We arrived before the festival even began, so we beat the traffic. We left the freebies for the toddler set, and immediately unloaded our gigantic, colorful kites (Sam’s Club, $12) that we had assembled the night before in the comfort of our family room. The kids dressed in layers, and we spread them far apart to avoid criss-crossing kite strings. And we left the football at home.
We flew the kites for ages, ate our snacks, then walked around and admired all of the other gigantic, colorful kites: An eagle! A shark! A rainbow! A centipede that took four people to fly! It was a beautiful show of thousands of kites, and after one more round of flying our own, we left for Mac & Bob’s, for the perfect end to a perfect day.
Go fly a kite! The 14th Annual Blue Ridge Kite Festival is from 10 a.m.-4.p.m. on Saturday, April 21st at Green Hill Park in Salem. But don’t wait for the festival to savor a calzone at Mac & Bob’s! They’re open daily; 316 East Main Street in Salem, macandbobs.com, 389-5999.