It's "pretty rare" for a town to have a three-day kite festival, says Mike Gee of Wings on Strings Kite Club. The 25th annual Jamestown Kite Fest is June 7-9 at Meidinger Park Addition, and Gee, founder of the event, says the support makes the difference in holding it for more than a day.
When Gee refers to support, he means not in monetary value but the interest of people coming from out of town to Kite Fest.
"A lot of times you'll go to a three-day festival and people will only show up for one day," he said. They come early for Kite Fest, he said.
"Now it's a pretty major deal going on here," he said. "Jamestown is known throughout the kiting community" for its three-day festival. He said the event could not take place without the financial support of Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department.
For Gee, Kite Fest is all about the public coming out and spending the day enjoying kites. Gee, who organizes it with Chris Dodson, says he doesn't work on making the event bigger and bigger, just consistent.
"We do this for the public of Jamestown," he said. "We want people to participate in the festival."
Kites of all sizes, pros expected
Wind of course, is important to Kite Fest. Ideally, wind speeds of 10 to 12 mph are preferable for the small and large kites taking to the skies, Gee said. Kites will vary in size from as small as a trash bag to 180 feet long and from soft kites with no sticks to flat and bowed kites with sticks, windsocks, banners and ground bouncers.
"We have a big barrel coming this year, too," Gee said. The barrel is a ground bouncer - it inflates with air but stays on the ground. The opening is 60 feet high and it's 85 feet long. It will be anchored to a payloader, Gee said.
Plans for Saturday and Sunday are the same, except for kite building. The 180 GO kite flying team will be flying kites all day both days. 180 GO is a quad line, precision kite flying team that performs all over the country and in other countries.
"They're very widely known in the kiting community," Gee said. While usually four to five members of the team come to Kite Fest, this year there will be eight members which should make for a good show, he said.
"The whole team is very knowledgeable in the sport kiting field," he said.
Gee said the people who come to the event from out of state bring a lot of knowledge with them, so it's a good opportunity for people who want to learn more about flying kites.
"All the events are dependent upon the weather," Gee said.
On Friday, it's all about sport kiting. People can learn about sport kiting and how to fly sport kites, which have two lines on them and can be maneuvered and steered in different directions. The pros will be available to help people learn and there will be sport kites available for use, Gee said.
"We also have people coming to the kiting event from out of state that fly sport kites. They fly in teams and then they fly to routines to music," Gee said. "They'll be doing that all day Saturday and Sunday, and they'll be doing that Friday, too."
On Saturday, there will be free kite building all day, sponsored by Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department. Candy drops for kids are planned both days. Jamestown Figure Skating Club will have concessions, and kites will also be for sale.
"Bring your lawn chairs and just plan on staying for awhile, because we have different things going up all day long," Gee said.
For Gee, who founded Wings on Strings Kite Club about 20 years ago, Kite Fest is a large event that had small beginnings from his own interest that began years ago in flying kites. He said he first got into sport kites and had to make repairs on them when they got damaged. That spurred his interest in kite building.
"After that, I just kind of wanted to share my passion with people," he said. "Out of that grew the kite festival.
"We've got people (visitors) here right now in Jamestown (for Kite Fest)," he said Wednesday. "If we didn't have a good kite festival or a good program, people wouldn't come for three days."
If you go
What: 25th annual Jamestown Kite Fest
When: Friday through Sunday, June 7-9
Where: Meidinger Park Addition, 17th Avenue and 17th Street Southwest
Admission: free; kite building is free; concessions, kite purchase available for purchase
Details: Friday, June 7: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., learn kiting from the pros; Jamestown Figure Skating Club concessions
Saturday, June 8: 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., kids kite building, 180 GO, concessions, music, door prizes
Sunday, June 9: 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 180 GO, concessions, music, door prizes