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Mother Nature provides glorious day for kite flying

March 19, 2012 12:10 am

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This is the view from a kite during Saturday's event at a King George County farm. lo031912tr1.jpg

Braden McCreevan, 4, of Fredericksburg flies his jet fighter kite during the 25th annual 'Go Fly a Kite Day' held at Litchfield Farm in King George on Saturday. The nice weather made the popular event even more fun.

By CATHY DYSON
By CATHY DYSON

As his mother tells it, 5-year-old Dylan French has been wanting to fly a kite forever.

But whenever he has asked, the weather was either too calm or too cool or the timing wasn't right.

So, when Tracy French saw a notice about "Go Fly a Kite Day" on Saturday at Litchfield Farm, off State Route 218 in King George County, she figured Dylan's moment had arrived. The mother and son joined many other families who dotted the countryside of the King George farm.

"His eyes just lit up when he saw all the kites," Tracy said. "It's the perfect day to fly a kite."

In years past, as many as 300 people have made the annual trek down the long gravel driveway to the sprawling farm, said Janine Paulsen, a program supervisor for the King George Parks and Recreation Department, which sponsors the event.

Saturday was the 25th year for the popular program and certainly one of the more agreeable ones, weather-wise.

In other places, there might not have been a molecule of air moving Saturday afternoon, but breezes billowed across the King George hills.

If anything, the day was a bit gusty, said Harold Ames, a longtime kite builder who helped young flyers around him.

"Every day is a good day to fly a kite," he said. "Some are just better than others."

Ames and his wife, Elizabeth, donated 40 rectangular-shaped kites called sleds, which kids then decorated.

Some covered them with dots, swirls of colors or their initials.

John Moore, 11, drew a blue peace sign and wrote: "I am cool."

The sleds were made from Tyvek, the same material used for house wraps. Over the years, Ames and his wife, who belongs to the American Legion Unit 89 in King George, discovered Tyvek is a more durable choice.

The kites don't disintegrate, like paper, if it's a rainy March day or the ground is covered with dew.

The white Tyvek kites were joined in the blue skies by a dragon or two, a sea bird and shark, a turtle and several military-looking airplanes. There were also more professional, delta-shaped kites as well as the box types and those that spin in the air.

On the ground below, some spectators sprawled out on the ground and watched the skies. Others sat in chairs, necks craned toward the heavens.

Shayla Bailey, 13, walked backward as her butterfly kite rose higher and higher until she used every bit of string on her line.

Lillian Saulat, 5, seemed more interested in decorating than flying it, but her father, Travis, appreciated every aspect of the day in the country.

"It's good family time, and it's free, and that's always nice," he said.

And clearly, the event wasn't just for kids.

Marie Allen had flown kites as a child in Chicago, but not as an adult. When she bought kites for her daughters for the day, she purchased an almost life-size butterfly made of cellophane for herself.

With a wing span of no more than 4 inches, the kite flitted like a real butterfly as glittering yellow-green ribbons trailed behind it.

"When I was over on the other hill, a real butterfly came along and was messing with it," she said.

Allen earned the trophy for most-unusual kite. The Hollis family got the prize for best homemade kite, and Kyle Duncan, Drew Warder and Shayla Bailey were declared the most-enthusiastic flyers.

Preston Richards, Jay Irby and Jessica Dyer got trophies for the longest-flying kites.

Coy Finney was considered best all-around, and Lindsey Asbell got the "Wow" award, which honors any unusual aspect of the event.

Her kite flew like a dream for almost an hour and a half--until the breeze picked up, the line snapped and the kite was gone.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com





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