With little wind, kite flying event brings sweat, tears, lots of running

Saturday, April 5, 2014 | 8:18 p.m. CDT; updated 10:10 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 5, 2014
More than 30 people showed up at Douglass Park on Saturday for the annual Kite Flying Day, organized by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. With little wind that afternoon, most participants kept their kites aloft by running. The event included a contest.

COLUMBIA — When the wind didn't come through during Kite Flying Day, 2-year-old Atharv Singla took matters into his own hands. His concern did not lie with getting a kite in the air, though.

Petal by petal, Atharv spun the mobile, red-flower lawn ornament his parents had brought to the event. Giggling at his toy, Atharv was content to leave the kite flying to his parents.

Kite-flying memories

On Saturday, we asked the participants what they remember about the first time they flew a kite. Read some of their responses in our Facebook album.

"He likes kites, but flying them is definitely something that's out of his control right now," said his father, Varun Singla.

More than 30 people showed up for the city's annual Kite Flying Day at Douglass Park. But, unlike 2-year-old Atharv, many of the attendees found the lack of wind problematic.

The majority were able to keep their kites aloft — with a lot of running.

Shiny, plastic depictions of Barbie, Transformers, and F-16 Fighting Falcons sailed, twirled and crashed over the baseball field at Douglass Park. Most of these kites were free gifts to the public from the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

Maggie Justice Davis, 4, opted for one depicting Cinderella, because she is her "favorite" Disney princess, she said.

Maggie's 7-year-old brother, Mason Justice Davis, summed up kite flying in one word: hard. Judging by the occasional tears and screams from children who couldn't get their kites in the air, many of the children would have agreed with Mason's sentiments.

"What's wrong?" Sally Hufstader asked her crying 3-year-old daughter, Paige Hufstader. "Is it that you don't know what to do?"

"Yeah," Paige said, her face a little red from crying.

But Paige's spirits soon lifted once her mother pointed out a large flying kite in the shape of a bald eagle. The unorthodox kite was a distraction from Paige's failed attempts to get her kite in the air. Unlike other kites flying that day, its four long, brown tails were tied together.

"The instructions said it stabilizes the kite more, so I figured I'd try it," said Ethan Feutz, the kite's owner.

Feutz would later win the day's contest for the largest kite. Another contest held at the end of the event had attendees compete to see who could fly a kite the highest.

Deshawn Harris, 9, sprinted and huffed his way around the field in an attempt to get his kite higher and higher. Deshawn even had to step out and sit for a moment before returning to the contest.

The 9-year-old wasn't able to fly his kite the highest, and by the end of the day, he had soured toward kites a bit.

"I used to like flying kites, but not anymore," Deshawn said.

His grandfather Bill Thompson said he thinks Deshawn was just tired from all the running.

For Arnav Edara, the afternoon was filled with fun and laughter . The 2-year-old alternated between running with his low-to-the-ground kite trailing behind and batting at the tails of his father's kite with a twig. Through it all, Arnav seemed to make the most of his Kite Flying Day without getting cranky — no small feat for a 2-year-old missing out on a vital part of his daily routine.

"I think he's doing great considering it's his nap time," Arnav's father Praveen Edara said.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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