Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kite Festivals - A Celebration of Color and Fun!

A slide of the sky viewed through arches made of kites.
My spirits are still soaring after attending yesterday's Capriccio Festival of Kites in Ogunquit, Maine. It was a perfect day for the beach with sunny skies, a touch of clouds, and a gentle cooling breeze. As Meb and I drove down the lane from the center of town to the beach, big "WOWs" escaped our throats as we gazed at enormous kites and quantities of richly colored designs riding the wind.

We had come with a big bag of kites to fly ourselves, but also to help with the event, in exchange for free parking ($20 otherwise!) and a free t-shirt  We donned our t-shirts and became instant judges for the kite decorating contest. Tables were set out in the parking lot (very accessible!) where kids were busy coloring sled style kites with markers. I was pleased to find one young participant in a power wheelchair at the task!

With a fistful of award certificates we strolled down the very crowded beach at high tide amidst a carnival-like atmosphere with hundreds of kites sailing in the air. It was a panoramic scene full of wild creations instilling awe at every step. From the tiniest dancing ladybug kite to the massive powerfoil holding a steady immobile presence above the crowd we delighted in the visual feast of buoyant colors. Our job was to seek out children, admire their kites, and hand out certificates that allowed them to get a free kite or festival t-shirt. What fun we had - even before we got to fly our kites!

Along the way we noticed a few other people with obvious disabilities in the mix and found Nolan, the young participant in the power wheelchair we'd met at the coloring table, now using one of the town's beach wheelchairs with kite in hand. (There is ramp to the beach!) This was Nolan's third year at the event and I know we'll be back too! Next year I hope to see more people with disabilities!

Festival scene at Ogunquit Beach barely hints at the variety
and quantity of kites on site from this angle. The biggest kite
in this picture is enormous.

Upcoming Kite Events in New England: Even a drive-by is worth it if you are uncertain about access! Many kite festivals seem to be free spirited public events, without full details in advance - just show up and enjoy! At kite fly is simply a group on kitefliers who have announced a date and place to show up and fly together. In either case, if you have any, bring your own kites to fly!

October 1, November 5, December 3: KONE Monthly Kite Fly on Nahant Beach, Lynn, MA. Contact Gary Quinton at 781-595-7687 or for more information. KONE is Kites Over New England, an organization devoted to kite flying of which anyone can be a member. I found out about the Capriccio Festival of Kites and these other events through their monthly calendar.

October 8 and 9: East Meets West Kite and Cultural Festival sponsored by the Chinese Multimedia Society, from 10am - 4pm each day at the Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester, MA. Pope John Paul II Park has accessible parking and paved pathways with pavilions but no accessible restrooms.

Our favorite kid's kite design on right. We saw several 9-11
commemorative kites, but this one stole our hearts.

October 9: One Sky One World - a worldwide kiteflying event for peace and understanding, with events taking place all over the world. Click on link for more info about this amazing endeavor.

November 12: Holiday Kite Fly on Hampton Beach, NH. Contact Ralph Reed at 978-937-8290 or for more information. (I can't find a thing about accessibility at Hampton Beach on-line!)

November 13: Veterans Day Fly at Hammonasset State Park, CT. Contact Richard Bromley at 203-288-1582 or for more information. Hammonasset State Park features accessible parking, bathrooms, boardwalk, camping, picnic tables, and beach wheelchairs!

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