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Area organizations launch Kite Festivals

by Christine Lindsey in From the Executive Director

Local organizations plan to pull some strings to bolster fall fun, as two new festivals aim to put hundreds of kites in the sky.

The Chatham Friends of the Parks has invited kite fliers from the Chicago Kite Co. to the Community Park soccer fields to do demonstrations and help children fly kites from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20.

Two weeks later, the Family Service Center in Springfield will welcome people to Southwind Park from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 to watch the Illinois Kite Enthusiasts perform synchronized kite-flying routines.

Both events offer opportunities for children to make and fly kites.

Dave Kimsey, treasurer for Chatham Friends of the Parks and a village trustee, said the organization launched last year to create more funding for the parks and more opportunities for families to enjoy them. Its inaugural Light Up the Park drive-through light display brought hundreds of people to view more than 20,000 bulbs during the holiday season.

Kimsey hopes for a similar draw for the kite event. The organization will have some food for sale, but he welcomes attendees to pack a picnic lunch and come spend the day. Weather permitting, a large kite will fly over the park and drop candy like a pinata.

“It’s new,” Kimsey said. “We have no idea how it’s going to go, but it sounded like a lot of fun.”

Chatham Friends of the Parks will distribute more than 2,000 make-it-yourself kites, with each child in prekindergarten to fourth-grade classrooms in the Ball-Chatham School District receiving a kite. Kimsey said the organization is seeking sponsors to help fund the project. Also, the Chatham Area Public Library plans to incorporate kite activities into programming for younger children.

Kimsey said he looks forward to seeing the variety and the creativity of the finished kites in the sky.

“The kids all get to color them and design them however they want,” he said. “I like walking down the hallways of the school. Everybody did the exact same thing, but nothing is close (in style).”

Springfield’s Family Service Center will give 150 make-it-yourself kites to the first children who arrive for its Oct. 5 kite festival.

Brooke Thomas, development specialist for the center, said that the participation fee for children is $3, but adults may come at no charge. Live music will play throughout the festival, and Hy-Vee has donated lunch for the attendees.

Thomas said the goal is to bring awareness to the Family Service Center but also to provide a fun day for families in the community.

“We wanted to do something unique and a little different,” Thomas said. “We thought that would be fun, and we’re a family-friendly agency, and it’s something that’s family-friendly.”

Want to go?

What: Chatham Friends of the Parks kite festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20
Where: Community Park, South Main Street, Chatham

What: Family Service Center kite festival
When: Noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 5
Where: Southwind Park, Second Street and Southwind Road, Springfield
Cost: $3 for children, free for adults

Contact Maggie Menderski: maggie.menderski@sj-r.com, 788-1526, twitter.com/MaggieSJR.

Christine Lindsey Email