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Fly High - A DeKalb Fall Tradition Continues

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Yvonne Boose
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The field was divided into two sections. One for the public and one for professional kite flyers.

A galloping horse, a spaceship and gigantic teddy bear floated across DeKalb’s Kiwanis Park Sunday during the 16th annual DeKalb Kite Fest.

Both amateurs and professional kite flyers filled the grounds showing off their suspended objects.

Kite expert Tom Adland, 71, said his first time running with a kite was when he was 7 or 8 years old.

“I was just infatuated with flying kites in the middle of Iowa,” he explained. “And could launch some pretty good kites but the box kites were always the toughest ones, you know, but you had to learn how to make the tail the right length so that kite would fly correctly.”

He’s carried this hobby across two different ends of the country.

“We lived in California for several years. So, on the West Coast along the Palos Verdes Peninsula, there was a lot of high flying because the ocean winds were constant.” Adland said. “So, there were certain spots on the peninsula, that people would group together and fly their kites and it was just unreal.”

Adland flew kites in Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island.

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Yvonne Boose
Kite flyer Christopher Stubblefield selling kites for Chicagokite.

Christopher Stubblefield was manning the Chicago Kite sales booth at the fest. He has participated in many kite events across the world.

“I've been as far as Texas to Alabama. We went to -- we were in Cuba one time,” he added. “We were supposed to be going to Israel, but COVID came.”

Stubblefield attended past DeKalb kite festivals, but this was his first time in the new location. He said the new spot is better for kite flying. The former location was at the campus grounds of Northern Illinois University.

“And they had a big hill and stuff you know, hilly, this is more level, it's a lot easier. The wind — we get better wind access from this field. There's only one tree line to block the wind.”

This is the second year that the kite flying took place at Kiwanis Park.

Sarah Moskowitz is from Chicago. She normally tries to fly her kite near the beach but said that doesn’t always work out for her because there are usually too many people. This is her first time attending the event and she’s impressed.

“I think it's awesome, it's delightful,” she said. “You've got the people — amateurs like me with their kites and then you have these pros over there with these awesome honking kites that are really kind of hilarious. And they got the candy drop and everything. It's just a nice time."

This year’s fest was hosted by the DeKalb Park District. Andrea Juricic is the park district’s superintendent of recreation. She said a couple of kites caught her attention.

“Well, they've got the horse kite that's over there,” she pointed out. “They've got the Spaceman and then they had an adorable, cute puppy with big floppy ears earlier.”

Some featured kite flyers were Al Sparling, Darryl Waters, Anthony Catalano, Team Sky FX and Team Chicago Kite.

In addition to kite flying, the experience included music, a few local vendors and the candy drop tradition sponsored by Ferrara Candy Company.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.