Issue 53: AKA Corner

Greetings to all in kite land from here in Minnesota where the lakes are still frozen, but not safe to walk on (there goes our 10,000 flying fields for another season), and all the fields are squishy and muddy, but kite fever is sweeping the state. I’m Barbara Meyer the first vice president of the AKA and the chair of the kitemakers competition committee.

Let me be the first to welcome April and the start of National Kite Month. After just a few years, National Kite Month has started to invade the national, actually the world’s consciousness. What a thrill to open a main stream non-kite magazine and read that April is National Kite Month, along with being national humor and gardening month. That’s quite an accomplishment.

The AKA (American Kitefliers Association), in cooperation with the KTAI (Kite Trade Association International) work together to celebrate the arrival of spring and of course to spread the word about our favorite way to spend time. How can I call it a mere hobby or pastime when for many it is their stress relief, their means of artistic expression; their passion? Kiting is truly a universal activity, limited only by the imagination.

Our goal is to have 600 kite events worldwide during National Kite Month. An event doesn’t have to be a big festival; we encourage local fun flies, kitemaking workshops, indoor flies, buggy races, kite displays in public libraries and malls, and school demonstrations.

We urge individual enthusiasts, local kite clubs, local service clubs, schools, parks and AKA or KTAI members all to plan and organize events. To accomplish these goals, National Kite Month Headquarters provides the following direct services:

  • Instructions for registering and organizing a participating kite festival.
  • Instructions for organizing a school kite making project.
  • An official National Kite Month logo.
  • A “National Kite Month Hotline” for phone questions and information.
  • An official National Kite Month Poster to help publicize your event.
  • Prizes drawn weekly from all the registered events.

Where’s the NKM headquarters you ask? Either start at the American Kitefliers Association website, and click on National Kite Month. Or, go directly to the NKM website here:

There is so much information packed into a few pages. Take some time and check out those resources. You’ll find some new ideas to use in planning your next workshop or fun fly.

How about sending in a request for your local government to issue an official proclamation declaring April National Kite Month? The complete details, including a sample proclamation are all at the website. If you need a little extra help, salvation is an email away.. Take a few miniatures or indoor kites along when you deliver your request, brighten the day of the office staff!

So far there are 194 events listed. We still have a ways to go to reach 600, but it is doable, with a little help from each one of you. Looking at the list, NJ has 15 events, Texas has 16 and Region 13 (International) has 19. If every state reached those numbers, we’d easily hit the 600 mark. Oh, and did I mention the fabulous prizes Mike Dallmer and team have lined up. These are donations from some of the best builders in the AKA(find the pictures on the NKM website) and also some great items from Into the Wind. A weekly drawing is held from all the events that have been registered to date. So, the earlier you register, the more chances you have to win. Registration closes on April 25.

I hear you saying, when am I supposed to find the time; I’m not creative; there’s no room around here for a big festival; that’s what the club is for. No, each one of us needs to do something.. Sure some events will be major festivals, but a big part of reaching people is the smaller events where that one on one time can occur. What can you do? Instead of heading to the bar for happy hour, invite your co-workers down to the park. Bring your bag of kites and see how they do trying to coordinate 2 or 4 lines. Plan it on Monday, register it, have fun on Friday. The company sponsors a softball team, how about a kite team for a change. Build a couple of tyvek rokkakus and challenge another department to fight it out!

No time for happy hour, need to pick the kids up? Find the plans on the NKM page, print out a bunch of sheets, and show up at school 30 minutes early. Instant kite workshop. The kids will love it; the teachers will thank you, and you’ll be a hero to your family.

Or, take a few supplies over to the local park. Round up everyone that comes by and soon you have a kite festival.

Speaking of families. Somehow we are committed to family dinners for the next 3 Sunday’s. Does that ever happen to you? Don’t sit around in the afternoon. Drag all of them over to the local park and stick a kite in their hands. Then they will begin to understand your kiting addiction. I’m looking forward to seeing my 2 year old nephew try a kite for the first time. Call if the First Annual Family Fly. Hey, with 3 Sundays we could do parts A, B, and C.

Need more ideas? The NKM website has an even longer list.

It’s time to go build a kite, there’s nothing like watching a new one take to the skies for the first time. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter where the kite comes from, that it soars against the wind continues to be magical.

Wishing good winds and that magical feeling to all of you.

Barbara Meyer