In addition to birds and planes flying high in the sky, there will also be kites this weekend at the second annual Kite Festival. And if all goes according to typical North Dakota wind patterns, there should be more than enough power to keep the kites in the air.
Minot's Kite Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maysa Arena, 2501 West Burdick Expressway. The event is free and sponsored by Minot Parks and Recreation and Visit Minot. There will be displays, kite flying and kite vendors at the festival.
Rollie Metz, one of the organizers of the Kite Festival, said there will be kite-flying for all ages and a good display of kites. Metz has a 30-foot clownfish kite inspired by the hit movie "Finding Nemo" as well as a 50-foot alligator kite that he will fly at the festival. Additionally, local vendor Rena Rustad will have her kites on display, he added. On Sunday, there will be a food vendor available, too.
This submitted photo shows two kites belonging to Rollie Metz, one of the organizers of the second annual Kite Festival taking place July 13 and 14 at Maysa Arena. The alligator kite is 50 feet, while the clownfish kite, inspired by the hit movie “Finding Nemo,” is 30 feet. These kites and others will be flown at the upcoming festival, which is free and family-friendly.
"It's just good, clean fun," Metz said about the festival. "We're trying to put on a good show for people to enjoy."
North Dakota has more kite flying festivals than any other state in the nation, he noted. Metz also said he wanted to say thank you to Maysa Arena for letting his group use the arena's lawn for the festival.
There will be a couple of new kites seen at this year's festival, Metz said. There will be a 50-by-10 feet wind sock, a tube used for channeling wind direction, he added. Some of the kites can be hooked up to a harness and you can be pulled along while on a snowboard or ice skates, Metz explained, or you can be pulled across a frozen lake. You can also hook up a buggy to the kite with a harness and go across land, he said. The buggy is a free-wheeling cart that is pedaled with your feet and gives you full control of the kite, making you able to maneuver the kite any way, Metz also said.
"You're not using wind speed, but the force of the wind," he noted.
Metz said there will be five or six buggies at the festival. Rides on the buggies will not be given, but kids can sit in them if they like, he added.
Last year, the Kite Festival had about 3,000 people in attendance, Metz said. There was a slight traffic problem, he noted, but Maysa Arena is the only place to fly kites in Minot that has enough room. They have flown kites at the Jim Hill Middle School football field before, but it's a small area, Metz added. Next year, there's a possibility that they may use the Minot Fire Department testing site that was relocated to the Super Fun Cleanup site south of Maysa Arena, he continued.
"It we need it, we may look at it for next year," Metz said.
People attending this weekend's kite festival can expect clean fun if the wind is blowing, Metz said.
"As long as people come, we'll keep doing it year after year," he said.
A lot of kids are impressed by kites, Metz said, and he wants to make the public aware of the activity. In North Dakota, it's guaranteed there will be wind everyday, he added. Plus, wind is free, Metz said, so other than the expense of the kite, flying one is a fairly cheap activity.
"We like to promote kiting as fun for the family," he noted.