Yesterday the kite club helped out at the annual Mile of Hope event. Mile of Hope is a weekend at the beach for the pediatric cancer patients and their families from three major cancer centers in the state. Yes, I did say pediatric. These are children who have cancer and whose lives revolve around cancer treatments and hospital visits. They are children who just want to have fun like any other children. And this weekend gives them time away. Time to have fun.

Saturday morning they spend time on the beach, building sand castles, swimming, and flying kites. The kite club members come to fly some our bigger kites and put color in the sky for the kids. The local kite shop provides free kites for the children to fly.

Mile of Hope Kids Kites

The winds were not cooperating for the kite club this year. Blowing eight to ten was just fine but blowing from the north was a headache. This meant the wind was coming across the island and over the dunes before it reached the beach. Can you say “turbulence”? Not to mention the fact that there were also motels and buildings blocking the wind, too. We got a couple of larger deltas up but they wouldn’t stay up very well. The winds would die unexpectedly and the kites would come down on the beach among the people. Not good. The attempt to put up a HQ flowform with several Koi wind socks as line laundry was a flop. Even the lighter wind kites, like the Wala, wouldn’t stay in the air. So, all our plans for lots of color and lots of fun line laundry was for nought. Our local KAP (kite aerial photography) flier was even having trouble with his Sutton and KAP rig. The winds were so light, his rig was acting more like a kite anchor. So no KAP shots this day.

Sutton for KAP

Was it a lost day? Not a chance. The kites that were handed out to the children flew like champs. They had a ball with their small deltas. It was kind of embarrassing. Those plastic kites flying great while our ripstop creations lay in the sand. Ah well, the kids didn’t care, they were having fun. One thing I notice every year, the children start flying the kites and the parents end up flying the kites. A universal truth.

And what did I do during all of this? I concentrated on a ground display. I put up the kite club banner and five other banners of varying sizes. Then I unleashed my troupe of crabs, three yellow crabs and two red crabs, and my husband’s green frog and pink pig, all from HQ Kites. In case you aren’t familiar with a kiting ground display, the animals are ground bouncers which are filled by the wind and move around on the ground. They are usually tethered by a long leash to a single stake so they may move around as the wind changes direction. Kids love these and so do adults. The display was topped off by a collection of wind bubbles or petals by Gomberg Kites. Teardrop shapes in varying colors on a thin stick which bob and weave and dance in the wind.

After a few hours, we packed up our kites, banners, and animals and went back to the kite shop. As usual, time was spent commiserating about what wouldn’t fly and analyzing what did. Then it was off to do other things which for us was eating lunch and taking a nap. All that fresh air and sunshine can really be draining. So until the next good flying day…

Fair Winds All.