Festival brings out avid kite-flyers

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Louisa Ytuarte of Portales brought her butterfly kite out of the air because there wasn’t enough wind to keep it in the air, she said. Ytuarte, an invited flyer at the Kite Karnival, is a member of the American Kite-flying Association.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Dennis Ware knows the secret to kite flying is patience in both building and flying it.

Which is why he said most children aren’t particularly drawn to it.

Walking around Doc Stewart Park, Ware picked up an abandoned kite on the ground. He said the owners of the kite were frustrated after several unsuccessful attempts to get the plastic, diamond-shaped glider kite floating in the air.

A few adjustments in Ware’s hands and the kite came to life, dancing in the 8 mph eastern New Mexico winds.

As a serious kite-flying hobbyist, Ware, 63, of Roswell, served as the “kite doctor” during Saturday’s fifth annual Kite Karnival at Doc Stewart Park. He said he attends the event every year.

Paul Hopkins, Cannon Air Force Base Community Center Director, said he estimates about 2,000 to 2,500 people attended the event throughout the day which started at 10 a.m. and lasted six hours.

“It’s a chance for us to have fun with the community, Clovis and Portales,” he said.

Aside from kite flying, the event also included several carnival-style games, such as a dunking booth and inflated bouncy playhouses.
Throughout the day, Hopkins said about 250 kites lifted off at the park. Some were pre-made glider kites from novices, others were intricate behemoths that cast their shadows over the park and were flown by members of the American Kitefliers Association.

Ware said he picked up kite flying in 1990 and has accumulated over 300 kites he built himself.

The joy of kite flying, which most AKA members refer to as a sport, is in the construction of a “flying machine”, Ware said, which is why he sometimes makes kites out of newspaper.

“There’s an aesthetic aspect to it, the colors in the sky and the sounds (it makes),” Ware said referring to the rustling of a 20 foot kite soaring in the sky directly above him.

Up until two weeks ago, Eric Schmidt, 33, of Clovis, said he has never flown a kite. He said he lacked the patience as a child to enjoy flying a kite.

He and his family came to the event where he flew a plastic, triangular “Go Diego Go” cartoon kite.

“I forgot about kite flying till now,” said Schmidt who sat beside his two-year old daughter Gabrielle, as he mended his kite. “I wish I had done this a long time ago.”

Schmidt said Saturday’s event has encouraged him to dive into the kite flying hobby. He said he plans to build his own “outlandish-looking” kite, which would be big and have a long tail.

“I love it,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to do it and advance my kites as I go along.”