kite-fest

While the fall finds many area visitors catching a line to catch a big one, others are using their lines in hopes of catching a little breeze. Carolina Kite Fest returns to the Sands Villa Resort on East Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 29-30. The free family-friendly event is organized annually by Don Dixon, owner of Kites Unlimited, as a thank you to his patrons and the community.

“This is the 29th year and it is very much a kite flyer event,” said Dixon. “We get good participation and of course a lot of people who come out just to watch. But this is for the people, like a big play date for everybody, so we want to see as many people as possible get involved.”

The child in everyone, no matter their age, can’t help but squeal with joy at the sight of a mass ascension of kites. These aren’t your parent’s kites, mind you, not the barebones diamonds that we know from our youth. Kites today come in all shapes, sizes and colors. From massive octopi to a football-field length thin strip of flags from around the globe. In this celebration of visiting professional kite flyers, locals and novices, it’s not uncommon for huge lizards, cartoon characters and unimaginable spinning displays of color to cast shadows on the sandy beach below.

As always, there are no fees associated with the event and no vendors will be on-site. This does mean that folks should plan on bringing a picnic lunch or visiting the restaurant at nearby Sands Villa, said Dixon, who is dedicated to providing a relaxed, stress-free event the whole family can enjoy. Bring a blanket, pack a lunch, and lay back on the beach to take in the sights.

Activities for children run throughout the day as volunteers are available. Kite building and the occasional candy drop are always a favorite with the youngsters. The after-dark night fly on Saturday, Oct. 29, is also sure to get the kids excited. Lights are used to spotlight the mass kite fly event, much to the delight of onlookers.

“A lot of what we do is very dependent upon the wind and the weather,” said Dixon. “The festival ends at 4, but begins again once it gets dark. It really lasts as long as the wind allows. But we always have a good time.”

Throughout the two-day event, several special guests will perform, including the large format kites and stunt kite flyers. People will also find kite lessons on-site, just in case you’re ready to pick up the string for the first time.

Dixon stressed that volunteers are always needed, whether it’s manning the booth where youngsters can build their own kite from scratch, or it’s holding onto a string. Some of the kites, he added, can take up to 40 people to fly.

If interested in volunteering, or for additional information, call Kites Unlimited at 252-247-7011. Can’t make it for this event? Kites Unlimited also hosts a New Year’s Day kit fly each year.

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