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International kite teams take to the Shipshewana skies


The 3rd Annual Kite Kommotion Clinic and Festival is another sign that spring has arrived.

Brilliantly colored, dazzling kites will take to the skies in Shipshewana from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. Activities will take place behind the Shipshewana Event Center/Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum, located at 720 S. Van Buren St. The event is free to the public.

Families and kids of all ages are invited to take in the amazing sight of international kite teams performing amazing stunts and demonstrations to music.

There will also be free stunt kite lessons, games and candy drops for children. Free kite making will be offered by the Hoosier Kiteflyers Society.

The LaGrange Communities Youth Center (LCYC), along with the help of corporate sponsor Head Over Heels, have organized this event to provide families with an opportunity to enjoy an old-fashioned activity with a new twist. “When kites soar, so do our spirits,” said LCYC Program Coordinator Michelle Myers. “And don’t we all need a lift after such a long, cold winter? This event reflects the mission of our organization to provide meaningful, positive activities and experiences for the youth and families of our community.”

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the past two years, so we are trying to expand and offer even more opportunities for the children at this year’s Kite Kommotion,” Myers added.

Kite Kommotion will take place on several fields. Teams of fliers will maneuver kites through a series of precise figures, demonstrating formation flying to music at the “Demo Field.” Scheduled to perform are “The Detroit Windjammers,” “Chicago Fire and Ice,” and “The Blues Brothers.”

Dave Bush, known as “Mr. Incredible,” will be flying the world’s largest production duel line kite.

These teams and individuals compete in kite flying contests and exhibitions around the world. The Windjammers specialize in trains of kites, with each pilot flying a train of 10 or more kites.

The teams interact with the public and are eager to assist beginners in the art of kite flying. The teams will organize and facilitate candy drops at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Surrounding the demo field will be the “Learn to Fly” field, where experienced fliers will tutor anyone who wants to try their hand at flying a stunt kite. There will also be a ”Family Fly” field, where families can fly single line kites and children will have the opportunity to fly the kites they just built.

This year, other kite enthusiasts from Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana will be there to show off their unusual kite collections in the “Eye Candy” field. In the past, there were gigantic clown fish, bears, an enormous scuba diver and more.

The Hoosier Kiteflyers Society will be set up in the back end of the Hudson Museum to help children build their own kites. Materials for kites will be provided free of charge. Children will be given instructions on how to make a kite and then encouraged to head to the Family Fly Field to fly their newly built creations. Families and kite enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their own kites to fly in the Family Fly Field and tote along lawn chairs to enjoy watching the exhibitions.

In addition to these activities, Tom “The Bubbleman” Deck will be on hand to add to the fun and festivities with his bubble machine. Children will be given the opportunity to play games and earn a free pass to Splash Universe Waterpark. The grounds will be decorated with banners, windsocks and other wind toys provided by the kite teams.

Concession will be available, as well as vendors selling kites, string, etc., should families wish to purchase any kites or kite supplies.

All activities at Kite Kommotion are offered free of charge thanks to a grant received by LCYC from the LIFE group and with support of generous donations from local businesses.

LCYC is still seeking additional corporate sponsors to assist with the event. Contact Michelle Myers at 463-0334 for sponsorship information.