Kites Over Grinnell

GRINNELL, IA – Kites Over Grinnell, to held Sat., Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ahrens Park in Grinnell, will offer a variety of fun activities for the family.  This annual event will take place on the east side of GARC building at 1510 Penrose Ave.

Foremost among the attractions are the colorful large kites made by members of the American Kitefliers Association (AKA) who will fly their kites all day.  Some 16 AKA members will travel from Chicago, Naperville (IL), Missouri, Pennsylvania, northern Iowa, and Des Moines to showcase their kites and share their love of the sport. Rich May, a local AKA member will fly his sports kite.

Dick and Sis Vogel, long-time AKA members, have been instrumental in bringing these professional kite flyers to Grinnell. “These kite flyers have become friends of ours.  They come for the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, to share their creative kites, to have fun, and to be with friends.”

The Vogels themselves have over 100 kites that they have made since attending their first kite festival in San Padre, Texas, in 2004.

Rotary President Janet Stutz will sing the national anthem to start the day’s activities.

Kite enthusiasts of all ages are invited to fly their kites.  Prior to the event the Rotary Club plans to distribute some1000 kite kits to K-6 in the school district who will decorate the kites during their art classes.  Kite kits will likewise be given to preschoolers at the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center and to residents of Windsor Manor.

A kite hospital managed in part by the Grinnell College women’s swim team and Rotarians will be on site to help with any kite repairs.

The Rotary Grill will offer free hot dogs, chips, and water.

Music will be provided by DJ Dave Crawford.

The Poweshiek County Conservation Archery Trailer will be available for those who want to try archery as well as other games.

Prizes donated by various businesses will be given out to game winners. Kites will be given away as door prizes at hourly drawings. Every child who attends will receive a ribbon.

Kites Over Grinnell was first introduced in 2002 by the late Rev. Dan Ogata, a retired local minister who had a passion for flying.  The Grinnell Kiwanis Club, of which Ogata was a member, sponsored the event then.

In 2006 Ogata invited the Vogels to help organize the event.  At its height, Kites Over Grinnell drew some 2000 spectators and 52 professional kite flyers from across the nation and Canada.  In 2009 the kite festival became a three-day event.  After a hiatus, the Grinnell Rotary Club took over in 2016.

For more information about Kites Over Grinnell, contact Bruce Blankenfeld at 641-990-1152.Howard Raffety enjoyed showing school children how to make a kite during their art class. Photo taken in 2019.

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