‘Let’s go fly a kite’

Hundreds of kites will float over the sandy shores of Ocean City, Maryland during the Maryland International Kite Expo, April 28-30, 2017. | Courtesy photo

Ocean City kite expo takes the art of kiting to new heights

Whales, crabs, dragons and fish will take to the skies over the sandy shores of Ocean City for the 23rd annual Maryland International Kite Exposition, or MIKE, set for April 28-30.

The event, hosted by The Kite Loft and the Town of Ocean City, makes for a fun-filled weekend for adults and children of all ages.

Chris Maxa, the general manager of the Kite Loft, said, whether spectating or participating, there are events and activities for everyone, especially families.

“First and foremost [the expo is] just a family-friendly, fun fly. If you have any kinds of kites, feel free to bring them and participate,” Maxa said. “It’s a colorful extravaganza in the sky like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

He added that areas near the beach will be segmented to accommodate all types of kites and pilots. Beginners to professionals are urged to join in.

The MIKE, which is free to the public, includes demonstrations of stunt kites which are steered by pilots in patterns or made to flip and spin using two to four lines. Free stunt kite lessons taught by experts, as well as basic, single-line kite lessons, will also be offered.

Maxa said kite flying is a great past time at which everyone can be successful.

“Kiting is an activity that people are a little intimidated by. [However] it’s simple to learn and get involved in. It’s a good family activity,” he said.

He added that running with kites or improper assembly are two common mistakes he’s observed during the event. As well, common problems beginners encounter are kites that keep crashing to the ground due to strong wind conditions. He said most basic kites found in big box stores can usually withstand winds up to 10 mph.

“A lot of success in kites, just like anything really in life, is putting yourself in the right spot. Put yourself in the position where there is a good smooth breeze, open field and no obstacles or hazards around and you’re guaranteed to have success,” he said

According to Gomberg Kite Production International Inc., a good rule of thumb is to observe how the wind is affecting flags in the area. If a flag can be heard flapping, the wind is probably too strong,

Maxa used an analogy to sum up the problem.

“If you’re going skiing or snowboarding, a little bit of snow’s cool or even a lot of snow is cool, but you can’t have an avalanche… [Kites falling] isn’t a case where the kites are bad or the kite flier is doing something wrong, it’s just the conditions.”

Everyone, especially children, will be entranced by the sight of the enormous kites floating on the breeze during the giant kite show, Maxa added.

Mel, the blue whale, a 100 foot giant kite, soars above the beach at the Maryland International Kite Festival. The festival runs from April 28-30. | Courtesy photo

Past years have included “Mel” the 100-foot Blue Whale, and a 48-foot long dragon created by well-known New Zealand kite maker Peter Lynn of Peter Lynn Kites.

Whether visitors simply take in the beautiful sights of hundreds of kites in the air or get out and learn some new kite skills, the MIKE should be a fun-filled event for all.

For more information about the Maryland International Kite Exposition, call 410-289-7855 or visit the Ocean City Events website at http://ococean.com/events/ maryland-international-kite-expo; or The Kite Loft website at https://kiteloft.com.

By Lauren Finnegan, APG News