By CLINT FOSTER
As Mr. Banks sang in Disney’s Mary Poppins: “With your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight, with your fist holding tight to the string of your kite.”
Just as in the end of the beloved film, countless colorful kites will fill the sky this weekend in the inaugural Mineral Wells Fall Fun Fly Kite Festival.
The event, sanctioned by the American Kite Association event will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Mineral Wells High School and feature open areas for both public kite flying and professional demonstrations. MWHS Wranglerettes will have the concession stand open both days and all areas, except for one stunt kite field, are wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and the entire community is welcome to attend.
Local kite expert Kyle Wilson is responsible for organizing the event. He said his primary motivation for starting the festival was to share his love of kites and give local kids a fun activity to do outside.
He added that everyone is welcome to bring their own kites, but there will also be a kite vendor in attendance for both days of the festival. Kite lessons will also be offered for less-experienced flyers.
Wilson said this weekend also marks the Grand Nationals of kite flying – held in Seaside, Ore. Because this year’s nationals are so far away, Wilson banded together with some of his fellow area kite aficionados to bring a festival to Mineral Wells. He said his kite festival will be the last of its kind for the year, within a 300-mile radius.
Professional kite flyer Troy Gunn of Team TKO out of Wichita Falls will also be on hand for the festival. Gunn has flown kites all over the world for kite schools and demos, including in China and Japan. Wilson and Gunn have also frequently flown together in what’s called “team flying” at festivals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Oklahoma. Wilson explained team flying like “synchronized ballet in the air with stunt kites.”
The event is sponsored by Gunn and Team TKO Sport Kites, Stephanie Gaines and Family Fun Kites, the American Kite Association, Barbara Upham and the Sons of the American Legion Post 75, who will provide a meal for the pro flyers in attendance Saturday night. Wilson also put a lot of his own money into the festival, which he hopes will grow and continue as an annual local staple.