Go fly a kite (and soar) in University Place


As nighttime fades to day, experienced kite flyers everywhere awake and begin licking their index fingers before holding them high to test from which direction the smallest of winds might be blowing. That’s because experts know there is a whole lot of school in string and spool. As readily as the wind can whip up the sexiest hairstyle it can also affect how smoothly the most craftily made kite will soar and yet wind is only one of many contributing factors for getting a kite to leave its perch on the ground.

On Sat., Aug. 5, large flocks of kites, in all shapes, plumage and variety, will cast their ascending shadows over Chambers Creek Regional Park’s Central Meadows. That’s where the annual Kite Festival migrates to University Place, and it lands to roost from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Five years ago, Pierce County Parks & Recreation Coordinator Chad S. Harvell sunk his talons into the idea for starting the new kite festival. He called the Pierce County Kitefliers Association (PCKA) and together the two organizations danced in collaboration and decided how to best present this free family event for migratory years to come.

Fun for the whole flock at the communal roost

While PCKA will be offering the first 250 children a kit with dowels, string, and plastic cutouts and will provide instruction to help those fledglings make their first kites, non-flying penguins, ostriches and chickens will still have plenty to do at the communal roost.

That’s where Ocean Shores (Kite vendor) will be on-site to sell windsocks, and an assortment of other wind-animated devices, as well as kites. It’s also where all land-loving offspring can be transformed into cute chirping little fuzzy fledglings right where Puget Sound Entertainment will have installed a couple of inflatable bounce houses.

Wiggle Works will also be there to offer a soft walk-in play-scape experience for the younger hatchlings. Then Bricks 4 Kidz, which presents famous LEGO workshops, will be on site to provide activities and resources for the smaller brood as well.

If you bring a lunch, but the leashed family dog eats everything inside the picnic nest, you won’t have to hunt for worms to satisfy the family’s hunger. That’s because food vendors like Boss Mama’s Kitchen, Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream, Hometown Dogs, Tastzys, Kettle Corn & Shaved Ice, and On the Grind Expresso will all be at the festival selling their drinks and grub.

Anyone from the gaggle at Chambers Creek who wants to earn their wings by learning more about kite flying can simply ask for advice from either PCKA or American Kitefliers Association, as both organizations will be vending at the Kite Fest. Spectators can also observe and learn from more experienced kite flyers who will undoubtedly be fiddling with their bridles and adjusting their lines to make their kites more adaptable with the changing winds.

While getting a bird’s eye view would make it obvious that not all kites are created equal, the different kite designs offer so much wisdom and creativity behind the science of kite flying. What makes any kite sail is its weight, bridle points, line length, kite shape and size, among other aspects such as the material used for the sail. Even the angle from which the kite accepts the wind and how hard and in what direction the wind blows will affect how effectively a kite can fly.

At the festival there may be stunt kites, box kites, butterfly kites and classic kites with tails. Some kites will be flat with a single skin and some will have double layers, odd shapes and more. Some will have rigid frames and some won’t have any bony framework at all. Some kites will only have one line but dual line kites make it much easier to steer and then there are even kites with four lines, called quad lines.

This year’s Kite Festival is made possible through sponsorships from University Place Refuse, Chambers Creek Foundation and the Vitamin Shoppe. For more information about the Kite Festival fly on over to: piercecountywa.org/1268/Kite-Festival

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