Kids of all ages gazed skyward with wide grins Sunday at the annual One Sky One World kite festival put on by the Midwest Winds Kitefliers at the La Vista Sports Complex.
“It does take you back to your childhood,” said Cheryl Heller of Omaha, who stared into the blue sky with her daughter and grandson. “It’s a funny thing, but when I was a kid I always thought the kites were going to take me up in the air with them.”
Tim Pruch of La Vista and his wife, Bambi, brought grandchildren Isabella, 5, who prefers to go by Izzy, and her brother, Xander, 2, to the festival. The kids craned their necks to watch a 55-foot fish float above. Beyond the bright green and blue fish, three blue and white stunt kites battled the breeze.
“I like the stingray ones,” said Isabella, pointing to three trilobite stunt kites. “They look really cool with their stripes.”
Part of the fun at the festival involved club members sending bags of candy aloft. Children, some carrying pails or sacks, gathered below, waiting for the bottom of a red bag to open, sending the candy plummeting to earth.
Brittany Seader of Gretna brought her boys, Everett, 5, and Flynn, 2, to watch the kites and, of course, collect candy.
“This is an awesome event,” she said. “The kids love it and the weather is perfect.”
The kite show occurs the second Sunday of October, weather permitting, at the complex near 70th and Harrison Streets. The show is a worldwide event created in 1986 to promote the spirit of international friendship and world peace through kite flying.
Kites are a symbol of the relationship between humans and nature. The hope is that the art and entertainment activities associated with One Sky One World lead to community enjoyment, understanding, friendship between people, environmental awareness and the promotion of world peace.
Don Murphy, president of the Midwest Winds Kitefliers, said the weather was cooperating with a near-perfect day for kite flying. The winds were 15 mph, gusting to 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Valley, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 50s.
Murphy was flying the 55-foot fish and a pair of 22-foot skeleton kites. His wife decorated their viewing area with spiderwebs and pumpkins in a nod to the fast-approaching Halloween season.
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“We fly year-round, but fall is the best time because you get nice, clean winds,” Murphy said.
Steve Huerter, who lives near Shenandoah, Iowa, likes the challenge of stunt kites that require two lines to control. He became interested in kites after retiring about 10 years ago.
“I had no idea this kind of kite flying goes on,” Huerter said. “Stunt kites are just fun and they’re more challenging. Some people make it look easy, but it’s really a challenge just to keep it flying.”
Nearby, Steve Hlavacek prepared a single-line purple and black delta kite with a 50-foot tail for takeoff. He’s been involved with the club since 1995.
“What better way to put a smile on everybody’s face than by seeing these colors and shapes in the wind?” he asked. “This is a worldwide peace day. We’re flying these kites for all the children of the world.”