By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully
Hundreds of people on Sunday harvested the Santa Maria Valley’s plentiful spring wind into fun as kites of all shapes and sizes filled the sky above Rotary Centennial Park.
Adults and children took their turns at flying during the seventh annual Free Family Kite Festival, organized by the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum.
“Our Free Family Kite Festival is an awesome opportunity for Central Coast families to spend a fun day out in the sunshine flying kites, eating good food and spending quality time together,” said Amy Asman Blasco, the Discovery Museum’s program director.
“We’re just so happy that we get to offer this kind of event to our community as a way of saying thank you,” she added, “and we hope that they’ll stop by the Discovery Museum and have more family fun together.”
The largest annual event hosted by the Discovery Museum featured professional kite-flying demonstrations, contests, food, vendors and music by family rock band Birdie.
“Kite ambassadors” helped families launch kites, with a stormwater retention basin serving as an amphitheater for those who watched the kites take flight. Canopy tents and small trees provided shade from the sun.
The popular “Running of the Bols” — during which contestants strapped to parachute-type kites race each other in an epic demonstration of how energy, inertia and personal grit come together — returned to again provide some wild family fun. Races were punctuated with cheering as the races sprinted across the grass.
At one section of the park, Coalinga resident Glenn Mitchell, who puts videos of his kite-flying on a YouTube channel, drew fans eager to find out more about his unique trilobite kite purchased from China.
Sisters Rhonda Kiblinger and Charlene Callahan, both of Lompoc, temporarily ditched their husbands and kids in the park to get their hands on Mitchell’s unique kite, taking turns flying it and then posing for pictures.
Both families have a supply of kites and purchased others Sunday.
“We come every year,” Kiblinger said. “We make it our annual tradition to come with our families to do this. It’s community; it’s play for adults, which is important with our kids. It’s just a positive thing to be part of.”