COLUMBIA — Kites of all colors, shapes and sizes took to the sky Sunday for the international One Sky One World kite flying event at Cosmo-Bethel Park. Kite flying clubs, enthusiasts and general spectators alike gathered to watch the colorful creations soar at the event, which promotes world peace.
Kite enthusiasts from Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City were on hand Sunday for the event. There were also some attendees from outside Missouri.
Columbia provides a convenient central location where kite clubs from around Missouri can meet up, said Donna Houchins, the secretary of the Gateway Kite Club based in St. Louis.
“It gives us a chance to compare kites and get new ideas,” said Tina Bushey, editor for the Gateway Kite Club.
Mike Shaw, who makes his own kites, joined in the festivities.
“I came to visit my daughter and grandson, who live here locally, and figured, 'Why not fly my kites, too,'” said Shaw, who currently lives in Bismark, N.D.
Shaw enjoyed the warm — and, more importantly, windy — weather, taking the opportunity to fly his award-winning and innovative kite creations.
“Once I began spending upwards of $600 on kites, I asked my wife to borrow her sewing machine to start making my own," Shaw said. "I wanted my children to be able to go to college."
Using books and the Internet, Shaw taught himself how to make kites, a hobby that has proved rewarding for him. The triple hexagon flat kite Shaw flew for spectators on Sunday won him first-place recognition at a competition three years ago.
Shaw spent 30 years of his life in Denver. While there, Shaw spent time working closely with the One Sky One World organization, so the organization's purpose of promoting world peace is important to him.
“We can do some good things together besides shoot each other,” Shaw said.
Sunday's event was part of an international celebration put on by the One Sky One World organization to promote world peace.
This year, the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department decided to incorporate the rededication of Cosmo-Bethel Park into the kite flying event.
“We tie dedications to other events in the park to help the attendance. It creates a festival-like atmosphere,” said Tammy Miller, public information specialist for the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
The dedication was in honor of the completion of the final phase of the Cosmo-Bethel park revamping. The park now includes a new playground and picnic shelter, which were completed in 2007, and four new tennis courts, a new restroom facility and a new shelter, which were completed in 2008.