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Kite Karnival makes a hit for third year

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Dance and Cheer Force entertained audiences Saturday. The Dance and Cheer Force is for girls ages three to 16 in the Clovis and Portales base housing and Cannon’s youth program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Janet Taylor-Birkey)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Dance and Cheer Force entertained audiences Saturday. The Dance and Cheer Force is for girls ages three to 16 in the Clovis and Portales base housing and Cannon’s youth program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Janet Taylor-Birkey)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Across the back row: Mychelle Simms, Mesa Elementary School teacher, Ronda Isabelle Winters, 9, took advantage of sparse breezes to fly her butterfly kites Saturday. Isabelle enjoyed the day with her mom, Vickie Winters, at the 3rd Annual Kite Karnival. (U.S. Air Force photo by Janet Taylor-Birkey)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Across the back row: Mychelle Simms, Mesa Elementary School teacher, Ronda Isabelle Winters, 9, took advantage of sparse breezes to fly her butterfly kites Saturday. Isabelle enjoyed the day with her mom, Vickie Winters, at the 3rd Annual Kite Karnival. (U.S. Air Force photo by Janet Taylor-Birkey)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- It has been said the wind always blows in this part of New Mexico. Unless the wind is needed for Cannon’s 3rd Annual Kite Karnival. 

While there was little wind for the Karnival at Doc Stewart Park, attendees enjoyed a variety of activities such as free games and rides, entertainment by the Dance and Cheer Force, making their own miniature kites and, catching the occasional breeze to briefly fly their kite. 

Some took the lack of wind in stride, but some of the children did not. 

“Why is there no wind? [My daughter] is yelling at me because it’s not working,” laughed Vickie Winters who was at the Kite Karnival with her daughter, Isabelle, 9. “It’s a pretty day at least. There was so much wind yesterday and none today.” 

Not just the young had fun at the Karnival, but also the young at heart. Even with little wind, Thomas Lipinski, of Clovis, retired Air Force, who was out for the day with his wife, Gloria Zolman, said, “It’s still fun though. I haven’t done this in twenty years.” 

Walt Mitchell, from Lubbock, retired Air Force, brought his kite known as a Cody war kite, which took him about 100 hours to make. Mr. Mitchell said he needed “a 10 mile per hour wind, [but] we’re not going to have that today.” While he was not able to fly the 21-foot wing span, 10-foot high kite, Mr. Mitchell regaled several Karnival attendees with the history of the kite. 

Designed in the late 1890’s for lifting people, the Cody war kites were stacked five deep to lift “a 100 pound man in a basket for observing ground scrimmages in the war,” said Mr. Mitchell. 

Mr. Mitchell has not only been a kite flying participant, but has contributed to Cannon’s Kite Karnival since it was first held three years ago. Pointing to the kite-making tent where children design their own kites, “The first year we had [the Kite Karnival] here, I gave them this design,” said Mr. Mitchell. 

An avid kite hobbyist, Mr. Mitchell gives kite making classes and demonstrations to schools and retirement villages. For “most of the people in their 70s and 80s, all they can remember about making kites are the paper kites made out of newspaper and sticks … so they are intrigued when they see something new and more engineered,” he said. 

This year’s Kite Karnival attracted almost 3,000 attendees, more then double last years attendance, and more than 300 kites were made in the kite making workshop, according to Sheri Hayes, Cannon’s Community Center director. 

“People loved the fact that the rides were free, the carnival games were cheap and everyone won something. One person said, ‘You can entertain your kid all day for $5, this is great!’” said Ms. Hayes.