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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

DeKalb Kite Fest takes off

Rachel Cormier
Two girls run to get their kites in the air on Sunday at DeKalb Kite Fest. The DeKalb Park District held its 18th annual DeKalb Kite Fest at Kiwanis Park. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Everyone thinks you need a strong wind for kites to fly, but that didn’t stop anyone at the DeKalb Kite Fest this Sunday.

The 18th annual DeKalb Kite Fest took off at 11 a.m. Sunday, filling Kiwanis Park and the sky with multicolored kites of all shapes and sizes.

The breezy afternoon welcomed families and avid kite fliers from all over the U.S. and even with only 5 mph of wind, many didn’t let that stop them.

“We’ve got kites that are literally built anywhere from indoors that fly in zero wind, and then I’ve also got kites that we can fly in 65 to 70 miles an hour and anything in between,” said professional kite flier and member of Team Sky-FX Brett Marchel.

The kite enthusiast has been all around the world, kite fighting on rooftops in India and performing maneuvers inside venue halls at the Shanghai Auto Show in China. When Marchel’s in the U.S., he flies with Team Sky-FX, a group of Midwestern kite fliers, performing team aerial maneuvers with their quad line kites, which use four kite strings for more precise movements.

The group, along with several known kite fliers, were invited by the DeKalb Park District to perform and show off their kites at the fest.

While the group focused on aerial tricks, giant sea creatures swam through the sky at the other end of the park.

Chicago Kite has been responsible for bringing giant kites to the festival for years, according to Katie Drum, marketing manager of the DeKalb Park District.

“So there’s some octopus, stingray and there’s some teddy bears, unicorns, pegasus, UFOs every year,” Drum said. “They kind of bring something different, so we’re kinda excited to see what they brought this year.”

This year, a 90-foot rainbow prehistoric trilobite made its way back from extinction to the excitement of spectators who couldn’t stay away from an up-close look from below.

The mega ancestor of the horseshoe crab had to be tied down to the front of a car while it gobbled up air to keep itself afloat.

Nearby cars held down floating stingrays and manta rays while one kite string held 60 homemade kites that trailed up over 100 feet in the sky on a single line.

While the wind favored some more than others, there was still fun to be had at the park.

Kayla Martin, sophomore early childhood and theater studies major and president of Sigma Lambda Sigma, manned the craft station with other members of her sorority, making paper plate kites for kids to decorate if they didn’t have a kite of their own.

“We’ve had a lot of like three and four-year-olds that just really want to like color and sit down and do something,” Martin said.

Music from 94.9 WDKB, one of DeKalb’s radio stations, kept the activities going along with ice cream and barbecue provided by nearby food trucks, Kona Ice and Big D’s Hotdogs.

“It’s a beautiful way to just be out in the sun with family, with friends and just enjoy something like we’re relying on mother nature to make this possible, which is really beautiful,” Drum said.

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