Grand Haven Tribune: Flying excessive once more



“I used to come back yearly with my grandma,” Lavercombe mentioned. “Once I heard final 12 months could be the final, it was very unhappy.”

As a substitute, Eric Wolff of the Chicago Flyers kite workforce and Ann Vondriska, who has emceed the native kite competition for nearly 20 years, relaunched the competition this 12 months as the primary annual Kite Pageant @ Grand Haven after 30 years of sponsorship by MAC Kite.

And regardless of a brief spell of low wind on Saturday, and a two-hour delay attributable to rain on Sunday, the kite competition flew excessive in its inaugural 12 months, with kite routines choreographed to music, giant animal balloons hanging lazily within the sky and pole banners flapping colorfully within the wind.

LaVercombe, 26, who now lives in Grand Rapids, mentioned she’s relieved that the competition will nonetheless fly.

“I used to be so frightened once they mentioned final 12 months that it was over,” she mentioned. “What a staple of Grand Haven. I am glad they rejuvenated it. Coast Guard Pageant will get slightly too loopy. It is a generational occasion. My 7-month-old son is now right here along with his grandparents. It is good to have a family-friendly competition.”

Vondriska mentioned individuals love that they introduced again the kite competition.

“We had tremendous great assist from everybody coming as much as us,” she mentioned Sunday afternoon. “We saved listening to ‘thanks for persevering with it, thanks for persevering with the occasion.’ The present kite subject was full with stunning creations and we had a terrific single-line present simply to the south. We had tons of of single-line kites.”

Sunday the rain spit, however flying finally resumed. Simply as Vondriska, Wolff and fellow flyers all the time hoped it will.

“We had been unhappy (when the top of the competition was introduced final 12 months),” Vondriska mentioned. “We felt we would have liked to choose it up once more. That is actually our kite household. All of us come collectively yearly on this identical weekend, on this sand. It is simply one thing we felt was tremendous invaluable not solely to the kite-flying neighborhood but in addition to the Metropolis of Grand Haven. It is one thing Eric and I felt was actually too necessary to let go. It is one of many largest festivals within the Midwest. We simply worth it so drastically that we needed to take it over, and we did.”

Vondriska mentioned the occasion will proceed subsequent 12 months, and past.

“We can be again,” she mentioned.

Grand Haven resident Kristian Balangero has camped on the kite competition along with his dad and two youngsters for the final a number of years.

“The climate cooperated this 12 months,” Balangero mentioned Saturday afternoon. “I do not keep in mind seeing this many kites earlier than. They’re all the best way down the seaside.”

On the 2018 competition, presumed at the moment to be the final, flyers vowed to return on the standard kite fest weekend, competition or not.

“We booked our campsite for this weekend, assuming individuals would present up,” Balangero mentioned. “The youngsters (Lilly, 7 and Bryce, four) stay up for it. They all the time get pleasure from it. It attracts in a bunch of different youngsters. Each playground right here is simply packed.”

Mary Pat McManmon, MD, a household follow doctor in South Bend, Ind., began coming to the Grand Haven Kite Pageant in 2003 as a spectator. In 2012, she began flying right here.

McManmon, who’s president of the Hoosier Kite Society, mentioned she’s completely happy the Grand Haven occasion will proceed.

“I am thrilled,” she mentioned. “Completely thrilled. I really like this occasion and it is shut by.”

McManmon mentioned not solely is kite flying enjoyable, there are quite a few well being advantages.

“Usually you see individuals doing this,” she mentioned, pretending to look down at an imaginary cellphone in her hand. “Right here, you see individuals doing this.”

She then turned her face skyward, trying up at a sky-full of colourful kites.

“This will get us out, will get us lively and helps us de-stress,” McManmon mentioned.

Does she inform her sufferers to go fly a kite?

“At the least my employees,” she mentioned. “It is a good household exercise.”