Get ready to let your kites fly

Fort Stevenson hosts SkyFest for another year of windy fun

Submitted Photo SkyFest is a family friendly event that has been happening for many years. Photo submitted by C Brand Photography.

Taking advantage of a long weekend and a reason to celebrate, Fort Stevenson State Park will be spending another year filled with kites. From kites that are large and take charge of the sky to smaller, more child sized kites, any are welcome and all are encouraged to soar.

SkyFest will take place starting May 25 and go until May 27 with special activities set-up for each day. Alongside it all, people will be able to fly their own kites, purchase one and enjoy different concessions.

According to Rena Rustad, SkyFest event organizer, the event has been happening under the name of SkyFest for seven years now, but came from a different event started in 1992.

The original one event, titled Skydance Sakakawea, was started by Deb Lenzen, a counselor at North Shore and Garrison Schools. She ran it for 20 years before retiring and passing the event on to the next person.

“SkyFest continues a tradition of flying kites at Fort Stevenson State Park for over 25 years,” said Rustad.

Each day will have something new to do. On opening day, Saturday, guests and kite flyers who are 12 and under will get a chance to build their own kite while supplies last. Kite building will start at 1 p.m.

“We usually make around 120 to 150 kites,” Rustad explained.

Saturday will also feature the second year of a special night fly of kites. In the evening, kites with LED lights, reflective strips and spotlights will be lifted up for guests to watch as the night gets dark.

This event could be postponed to Sunday depending on weather.

On Sunday, they will be bringing in the Garrison mascot, Wally the Walleye, for guests to take photos with. He will be making rounds around the festival and also be available in front of a giant kite.

“It’s become a festival tradition that people really look forward to,” Rustad said.

Finally, on Memorial Day, SkyFest will be holding their annual Bol Races. A fun event for all ages, those taking part will be split into different groups according to ages to compete. A small parachute kite will be strapped to contestants backs and they race to see who can be the fastest.

Each day of SkyFest will feature a candy drop at 3 p.m. where candy will be hoisted up by a kite. It is then released into a certain area above the festival where kids can take part in a candy scramble.

Rustad does warn that everything depends on the weather. Bad weather could mean cancellations or postponements of different activities.

Anyone and everyone is invited to come out, fly some kites, and enjoy the view and activities. Alongside the activities, there will be raffle tickets and door prizes.