Family kite fly

By Shelby R. Farrell


BELVIDERE – Families flocked to Prairie Fields Sports Park in Belvidere to set their cares to the wind at the third annual Family Kite Fly.

The Belvidere Parks District partnered with Chicago Kite to host the event, which reached its highest number of attendance this year. About 450 people wandered onto the fields south of Business 20 and the Boone County Fairgrounds on Sept. 12.

The location helped the event grow, because people driving by who see the kites might stop and walk around the park.

Betheny Martin, Recreation Manager Special Events Coordinator for the parks, said international visitors have even stopped by, and she likes having the Family Kite Fly at the Prairie Fields Sports Park because people can still see the kites even if they can’t stop.

“It’s been growing every year,” she said “We get a lot of ‘what are you doing. We love those kites,’ and they’ll drive by, and then the next year they’ll come in and actually look around and walk around and ask questions and learn about kite flying.”

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She said more than 75 kites were in the air, including parafoil kites, stunt kites, and many other kite varieties, which was also a record for the event.

The partnership with Chicago Kite brings in more people and more varieties of kites. The company sells kites online and through the store on North Harlem Street in Chicago, but the store also brought a tent to the Family Kite Fly where people can buy kites.

Martin said the company also invites amateur kite flyers from surrounding states including people from Wisconsin, southern Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa who visit Belvidere for the event before heading to DeKalb for the DeKalb Kite Fest the next day. She said people who stop to look at the kites are surprised by the variety.

“They are sort of amazed by the different kites and colors and shapes that they have out there,” Martin said. “They’ve got pandas and a little surfer guy, and I’ve seen kitty cats, a cow, dragons, I mean you name it. People are just amazed that they have kites those shapes and that they can get the kites to move that way.”

More than just professional kites were taking over the sky. New to this year’s Family Kite Fly, the Belvidere Parks District provided a free kite-making kit for kids who wanted to make his or her own kite. Martin said she gave out 67 kits, which came with plan white paper to decorate and personalize, string and assembly directions. Martin said the event also featured a new event this year called the “candy drop” where candy was dropped from a kite for the kids attending the event.

“I like to see the kids,” she said. “To see them get their kite up in the air, or see them as they watch some of the other sporting kites like ‘wow, look at that,’ just the awe on their faces.”

Kristina Truax brought her 4-year-old twins, Ella and Kinley, to the Family Kite Fly. This was her first time going to the event, or any kite festival, but she said her mom and sister went to it last year. She said she wanted to bring her daughters to the park because the girls already had a love of kites.

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“They love flying kites and all the characters,” Truax said. “It’s neat for them to be out and see and make their own, too, and be a part of it.”

She said they have never made their own kites, so getting involved with the process was fun for them. She said Ella and Kinley making the kites made them feel like they were a part of it.

The girls said their favorite part was running around the park with their handmade kites in the air.

“It’s fun, because I have a string, and I can run with it,” Kinley said.

Truax said she wants to bring her daughters back next year. The Family Kite Fly is on the second Saturday in September every year, and Martin said she receives feedback on the event all year.

“It makes for a beautiful day,” she said. “It’s nice to be out here and have a family morning. It’s nice when the community comes together and does something like this.”

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