In order to have a Family Kite Day, you need open spaces, good wind and kites. But that list doesn’t include the most important ingredient, according to Keith Merritt, founder of Family Kite Day.
“What’s important is the time you give your children. The kite’s just a tool,” he said. “You share your time with your kids outdoors. Anything we can do to encourage family life is a good thing. That’s my view.”
The 2009 event will be 10 a.m. until everybody leaves on Saturday at Veterans Park in Tupelo. Merritt will provide free hot-dogs, chips and drinks, and he’ll award prizes for worthy fliers.
“When we started, adults kept winning the prizes,” Merritt said. “About two years ago, we had a girl who came out early. I mean, she worked and worked to get her kite in the air, so we gave her the First Kite of the Day award.”
Attendance is fluid, with people visiting the park throughout the day. Tupelo Department of Parks and Recreation, a co-sponsor, helps to get the word out to the community, but some people stumble onto the fun.
“Every year,” Merritt said, “there are people on Veterans Drive who see the kites and say, ‘Hey, that looks like fun. How much does it cost?’
“‘It’s free? I’ve got a kite at home. I’m going to get it.’
“‘You do that. We’ll be here. The more the merrier.'”
Out of the gray
The origins of Family Kite Day can be traced back to a coffee shop on a gray January day in 2005.
“I was thinking about more beautiful times, Merritt said, “and I realized this town had never had a kite day for kids.”
The tradition that got its start that day will continue on Saturday. Everyone’s invited to bring their kites and their families to Veterans Park.
“I always felt like kite-flying was about the most fun thing in the world,” Merritt said. “There’s something whimsical, something childlike about it.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.