You might say plans for the fifth annual Derby Kite Festival are up in the air.
And that’s just the way organizers like it.
The festival, set for Saturday afternoon at High Park Soccer Fields, includes a caveat to vendors.
“If you have a booth at our kite festival, you have to have an activity for the kids,” said Kathleen Avitt, director of programming for the Derby Recreation Commission.
However, organizers won’t know what the activities will be until that afternoon.
“That is the surprise,” Avitt said. “A lot of them do crafts. Some of them do different types of activities. We’ve had everything from flower-making to designing different kinds of kites to arts and crafts.
“It can be anything as long as it’s related to kites,” she added.
The planned activities include food trucks, miniature disc golf, bounce houses, free face painting, clowns and a DJ.
There’s also a candy drop from remote-controlled planes that has proven a favorite among kids, Avitt said.
Kites will be given to the first 350 people attending the event. Avitt said attendance has grown by about 250 each year, and, weather permitting, this year’s event should reach 1,000.
“The focus is on kites,” she said. “We’re trying to get families out to the park so they can just enjoy being in Derby and being in nature.”
Kite demonstrations during the festival will be conducted by Wings of the Wind, a Wichita kite shop.
“We hope to have a nice show for people. Derby Rec does a great job,” Wings of the Wind co-owner Susan Adams said.
Stunt kites are flown with two lines of up to 100 feet of string, Adams said.
“It’s more of an active way of flying a kite rather than just getting the kite in the air,” Adams said. “Some people feel lucky if they can just do that.”
Stunt kites, she said, are not for the passive flyer.
“You’ve really got to pay attention,” Adams said. “You don’t want to take your eyes off it for too long.”
Kites are getting larger, she said, with models up to 9 feet long costing about $50.
“They cost a lot more money, but you definitely get a bigger bang for your buck,” Adams said. “It’s really big and colorful and you get attention. It makes you look good.”
The trends in kites, she said, is “big and beautiful.”
“There are still some with Mickey Mouse and other characters, but we have octopus kites and bird kites and skeleton kites and zombie kites – dragons, flying stuff that looks mean,” she said.
Adams said kite flying hit its peak in popularity in the 1970s and ’80s, but many that flew kites then still send them up in the air today.
“It’s a great, inexpensive hobby. All you need is a decent day away from storms and a decent place to fly,” she said. “You just need a nice, open field with no kite-eating trees.”
Derby Kite Festival
When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: High Park Soccer Fields, 2801 James, Derby
How much: Free
More info: derbyrec.com