Just hope someone tells you to “go fly a kite” this weekend; Then, go do it. Normally that retort is the equivalent to a slap in the face, or another way of saying “shut your mouth,” or something more profane. But in the world of fun-loving humans, it’s hard not to want to go fly a kite this weekend.
Starting tomorrow morning, at Meidinger Park, kites will fly, kids will stare upward in wonder, and adults will marvel at the sheer height those ethereal works of art can reach.
Kites are among the oldest forms of “flight” and have a history that embraces a number of art forms as well as military use. Scientifically, it’s an early experiment in aerodynamics. As an art form, it is a kinetic thing of fragile beauty: a place to paint your idea of a dancing dream.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, kites were used as tools for scientific research. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Wilson used their knowledge of kite flying to learn more about the wind and weather. Sir George Cayley, Samuel Langley, Lawrence Hargrave, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brothers all experimented with kites, which helped us understand electricity as well as contributed to development of the airplane.
The U.S. weather service flew kites designed by William Eddy and Lawrence Hargraves to raise meteorological instruments and cameras.
We usually see inexpensive paper kites sold in stores for child’s play, and if lucky, kids may get to make one in an art class before getting out of school for the summer. Although others claim the title of inventor, kites were first listed on record as coming out of China in the in the 4th Century BC.
In the History of Flight pavilion at the National Aeronautics and Space Museum in Washington D.C., a plaque is inscribed to the humble Chinese kite. It states, "The earliest aircraft made by man were the kites and missiles of ancient China." Check the internet for examples of kites and learn more about their history
The Jamestown Kite Fest starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow and runs to 5 p.m. On Saturday, it starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m. Sunday’s hours are the same as Saturday’s, so grab the kiddos, some kites and pack a lunch. This is the weekend where you get to fly the art and watch it soar.
After a day of kites, maybe you’ll want to slip over to the historic 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse for another view of history. On Saturday, bring the family over to the 1883 courthouse, where a different kind of history will be presented, and this time it’s Jamestown history.
Keith Norman will at 1 p.m. play the role of “Limpy Jack,” one of Jamestown’s early characters. Limpy Jack had a dugout on Jim lake between Jamestown and Fort Totten. Watch to learn about one of the more interesting bits of history. Norman’s presentation is one of three character reenactment programs that have been added to the musical programs at the courthouse for summer 2019. There will be light refreshments and admission is free.