Kite-flying: the perfect summer send-off

Todd Bush—Image courtesy of Mile High Kite Festival
Beech Mountain celebrated its 14th year of the Mile High Kite Festival on Sept. 3-4

After a long and hot summer, it was time to feel the breeze atop one of North Carolina’s highest towns. Beech Mountain’s 14th annual Mile High Kite Festival was held Sept. 3-4, which meant two days full of kite-flying activities for all ages.Each day, the first 150 children (12 and younger) received complimentary kites. The wide, flat kites in a half-tunnel shape are easier to fly than traditional diamond-shaped kites. Kids could decorate them and add tails. At more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the meadow in the center of town allowed participants to fly their kites a mile above sea level.On Saturday, everyone was welcome to practice his or her kite-flying skills. Then on Sunday, the experts joined in on the fun. Both the Richmond Air Force Kite Club and the Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society (WACKOS) gave kite-flying demonstrations. Bet you didn’t know you could join a group of kite fliers — but it is true! Both groups meet regularly to fly kites together, with the WACKOS based in the Charlotte area.”The festival weekend is a nice, fun way to end the summer,” said Calder Smoot, event coordinator. “Some people like to come out and fly a kite, while others just bring their chairs, have lunch and enjoy watching everyone fly their colors in the sky.”Additional festival attractions included face painting, bounce houses for children, and food vendors. New this year were drone demonstrations and a presentation about the history and usage of kites by Andy Sicard from Grandfather Mountain State Park.