Kites take flight at Beech

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Aug. 22, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 2, 2013
Kites take flight at Beech

Kites of all colors and sizes will take flight at Beech Mountain Sept. 1 for the annual Mile High Kite Festival.

Photo submitted



The winds that swirl over Beech Mountain are coming, and with them is a colorful armada of kites.

Beech Mountain will soon be filled with vibrant colors and decorative displays of kites of all fashions for the 11th annual Mile High Kite Festival on Sunday, Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the local meadow.

The event is free of charge, with the first 300 children — ages 12 and younger — receiving a free kite to decorate and color to their liking.

“When we first started this, we thought it might be a fun end of the summer event to bring people to Beech Mountain as a last outdoor thing to do before everyone went back to school or work,” event organizer Calder Smoot said. “The visual aspect of all the color and movement in the sky is always a cool thing to see, and it’s also fun to watch the little kids color their kites.”

The idea of a kite festival took flight when Smoot learned of a similar event in Richmond, Va.
Since the inaugural run, the festival has attracted more than 1,000 people annually to the nearby meadow, where the high-flying action unfolds high above the mountain peaks with barrel rolls and loop-the-loops.

The meadow, where the festival takes place, will be divided into thirds to ensure age appropriate offerings for all those who attend.

A third of the field will be designated for exhibitions held by the event’s two sponsoring kite clubs — the RAF Kite Club and the Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society. “We block off part of the field, mainly for safety reasons,” Smoot said.

The lower end of the meadow will be reserved for food vendors and other displays, while the younger children will occupy the higher end to try their hand for the first time at kite flying.

Kids are also encouraged to participate in the “Running of the Boles,” which is a relay race where participants drag an elongated version of kite until it fills with air and takes flight.

Other activities include races with children pulling parachute kites, face painting and a variety of craft and food vendors.

Announcing for the event will be provided by Terry Murray and Will Smoot. Prizes will also be awarded for the biggest kite, smallest kite and best-decorated kite.

In past years, Smoot said he remembers some kites as large as 50 to 60 feet and one particular ship that resembled a humongous dragon.

Prior to the kites and other unidentified flying aircraft, B.J.’s Dog Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for canine lovers and other fans. The entry fee is $20 for one dog and $30 for two dogs. Named for long-time town employee B.J. Hughes, the show is free to spectators.

There will be certificates and prizes for winning dogs, while all furry friends receive a ribbon of participation.

For information, call the Beech Mountain Visitors Center at (800) 468-5506.

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