On Saturday, September 25th, the Grinnell Rotary Club will be holding its annual “Kites Over Grinnell” event in Grinnell at Ahrens Park. It runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm, with a hot dog and chips lunch provided free by the Rotarians.
This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of the late Dewey Meyer, Rotarian and Mayflower resident. It is free to the public and takes place in Ahrens Park on the east side of the GARC building, 1510 Penrose St in Grinnell. 28 professional kite flyers from around the country will fill the sky with their unique, colorful, and large kites.
They will be joined by local youth flying kites they have made and colored in elementary and middle school. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets from which to view the kites.
Kites Over Grinnell was introduced in 2002 by the late Rev. Dan Ogata, a retired local pastor and Mayflower resident who had a passion for flying. The Grinnell Kiwanis Club, of which Ogata was a member, sponsored the event for several years.
In 2006 Ogata invited Grinnellians Dick and Sis Vogel, who, as American Kitefliers Association (AKA) members, shared Dan’s passion for kite flying, to help organize the annual event. Today, the Vogels are still actively involved in bringing the professional kite flyers to Grinnell.
Dick and Sis have been actively making and flying kites since 2002. Living in The Mayflower Community (Grinnell, Iowa), they pursue their art, building frames and sewing skins for their specialized kites. Then, they travel around the country, attending kite festivals and competitions.
In the spring of 2020, Dick and Sis were named Recipients of the American Kitefliers Association Robert Ingraham Award. The recognition “…is presented to kite flyers, who during their lifetime career in kiting, have exemplified outstanding volunteerism and service to the American Kitefliers Association and, who, in the true spirit of Robert Ingraham, have given unselfishly of their time to help the AKA and promote kiting in general.” They are pictured in their Mayflower home with the plaque that was presented to them.
Dick and Sue own over 70 kites and travel around the country with a group of “kite people.” When you tell them to “Go fly a kite,” they are likely to do so!