Kite Festival returns to Brookings, aims to get kids outside

By Jay Roe

The Brookings Register

Posted 6/17/24

BROOKINGS — The skies above the Fishback Soccer Complex will be awash with color June 22 and 23 as professional and amateur kite enthusiasts alike celebrate the 25th annual Brookings Optimist …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Kite Festival returns to Brookings, aims to get kids outside

Posted

BROOKINGS — The skies above the Fishback Soccer Complex will be awash with color June 22 and 23 as professional and amateur kite enthusiasts alike celebrate the 25th annual Brookings Optimist Kite Festival.

Organizer Sally Damm Norby said it’s been magical to see the event grow each year.

“It’s been an interesting journey on how things progressed, and not only locally but across the nation there’s been a real surge in kite festival attendance,” Damm Norby said. “We’re on the second generation now. This year we’ve added several more vendors — just in case the wind doesn’t blow — because the kite festival is totally dependent on the weather to get the kites up. There’ll be other activities, so this is kind of the first year we’ve expanded it to include the vendors.”

Kites remain the main attraction, but this year’s celebration will also feature face painting, a bike rodeo, food trucks, and more.

Professional kite fliers from across an eight-state region will not only be showcasing their flying prowess with giant kites, but will also be visiting with kids to explain the science and art of good kite flying. As always, kite fliers of any skill level are welcome to bring their own kites out to fly.

“The other thing that’s new this year that we haven’t had before — and is totally dependent on the weather — is the night flight,” Damm Norby said. “That will only be done by the professional kite fliers. And it’s after dark, so around 9:30 if the weather is permissible, we’ll have a night kite flight.”

She said the evening fliers will have some special lighting arranged so spectators can easily spot the colorful, carefully choreographed kites soaring in the night sky. 

Admission for both days of the two-day event is free. Activities will run both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fishback Soccer Complex in Brookings. 

“What’s so special about this project that the Optimists do is that it’s intergenerational,” Damm Norby said. 

“So you’ll see the little guys with grandpas, and grandmas, and moms, and dads, outside — no cell phones — just trying to get that kite up. And once they get it up, it’s just like winning a million dollars. They get so excited. Everybody does, all the generations do. And that’s what’s so fun about all this.”