MetroParks of Butler County and P.I.G.S. Aloft Kite Club are teaming up again to co-sponsor another highflying event, Kites-N-MPX, which will be held at Voice of America MetroPark on Saturday, April 7 from noon to 5 p.m.
This is a free, family-friendly event.
The one-day kite festival will offer huge kite-flying demonstrations, kite ballet, parachute races, on-site kite-making and more. Families and individuals can also fly their own kites in the family fly zone. Guests may bring a kite or purchase one on site. The event attracts kite lovers and enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. There will be many different sizes and shapes of kites on display.
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Debbie Von Bokern, and her husband Joe are founding members of the P.I.G.S. Aloft Kite Club. She said the event will give professional kite flyers an opportunity to demonstrate their showmanship skills.
“This is the largest gathering of kite fliers in Cincinnati. It is a great opportunity to see what is new in kiting… It is a great time to pull out the kites in your closet and let them soar,” she said.
About 60-100 kite fliers are expected to participate from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and beyond.
Ken McNeill of Blue Moon Kites in Lenoir, N.C. (www. bluemoonkites.net) will also participate. He has spent more than 25 years as a designer and maker of high-performance aerial art (kites.) We caught up with McNeill by phone in a Q&A to find out more.
Q: Do you typically travel to different kite-flying events and have you participated in Kites-N-MPX before?
A: No, I haven’t, but I’m really looking forward to it. I go to five or six events a year, all around the country. I don’t travel as much as I used to. I used to be all over the country, all of the time, every weekend or every-other-weekend.
Q: How did you get started making and designing kites?
A: I started as a hobbyist. I got interested in the design aspect when I started going through kites quicker than my bank account would allow. I was silly enough to think that I could make kites cheaper than I could buy kites, and it didn’t really work out that way in the long run, of course. Now, I’ve been sending kites all around the world for the last couple of decades. I really enjoy it. I get a kick out of seeing people fly my kite designs.
Q: You have your own kite company, Blue Moon Kites. Tell us about the kites you create?
A: Primarily, I specialize in what’s called cellular kites or box kites. It’s an outgrowth of the box kites we got as kids, but with a little more design flair. I make everything myself, and we try to give people something that they can’t really get anywhere else.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: It’s pretty much like anybody else. I come in, spend the day answering email, working on the website, and building kites… A week and a half ago, I was in Oregon, Illinois teaching a kite workshop. This week, I’m heading to Seattle, Washington to lead another workshop. I teach people how to make kites. I have a new model that’s coming out in April called the Vixen. That was my workshop kite, and that’s what I taught people how to make. It’s a complex design, and it’s an intense class for a couple of days.
Q: What do you love the most about what you do?
A: For me, it’s a creative outlet as much as it is a business. It becomes a passion to do what you do, better and better all the time, and to build something. It’s a creative thing. I also enjoy that people appreciate what I do.
Q: Why would you encourage the community to come out to the Kites-N-MPX event?
A: It’s a good time to get out and spend some time in the fresh air and the sunshine, and to add some pretty color in the sky… Be a kid and be carefree. Come out and have fun for a few hours.
Want to go?
When: Saturday, April 7, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Voice of America MetroPark, 7850 VOA Park Drive., West Chester
Cost: The event is a free, family-friendly activity with food and drinks available for purchase. Note: as a fundraiser for P.I.G.S. Aloft Kite Club, kite making will cost $4.
More info: A motor vehicle Permit (free to Butler County residents) will be required to enter the event; non-resident permits will be available for purchase ($5 day pass/$10 annual pass). Motor vehicle permits will be available at the ticket booth, along with waivers to fly a kite. Please, use the Butler-Warren Road entrance to enter and exit Kites-N-MPX. Those interested in volunteering or participating as a vendor may visit MetroParks of Butler County website www.YourMetroParks.net, or call (513) 867-5835.