UP IN THE AIR: Go fly a kite at second annual Menomonie Kite Festival

Dainielle Zinsli, photos by Tony Liedl

Whether you’ve never picked up a line or consider yourself somewhat of a kite expert, the 2nd Annual Menomonie Kite Festival, which takes place May 5 starting at 11am, has something for everyone.

Last year’s festival brought about 150 people to Tanglewood Greens (2200 Crestwood Drive, Menomonie) to watch all kinds of contraptions – from traditional diamond kites to 26-foot octopuses – take over the skies.

Tony Liedl organized the event to bring something different to the Menomonie area. He already enjoyed flying kites, so he said the festival seemed like a perfect fit.

“We have plenty of space out here,” Liedl said. “Let’s see if we can get people out here flying kites and just enjoying a nice spring day.”

Of course, this being Wisconsin, a nice spring day is not a guarantee. Either out of confidence or hardiness, there is no rain (or blizzard) date for the event.

Kite vendors and food will be available – rain or shine – so those looking simply to have a picnic and do a little shopping are more than welcome to show up. Leashed dogs – as long as their keepers pick up after them – are welcome as well.

“We’ll have items for sale as well as demos, so people can try things out,” said Kelly Vincent, owner of Action Fireworks and Kites in Eau Claire.

Vincent said he’ll have a variety of items for sale that go well beyond a typical triangle kite. Think giant bats and birds.

“If people want to try a two-line kite, we’ll have that available as well,” Vincent said. “It’s a little trickier, but people can try it.”

Prince & Princesses out of Menomonie will also be on site selling kites, toys, and other items.

Liedl emphasized that absolutely no kite knowledge or skill is necessary to enjoy the festival, and Vincent said he’ll be available to answer questions, give pointers, and help with simple tasks such as tying lines.

“There wasn’t a single case of somebody not knowing how to fly a kite, but they were asking (Vincent) more about beginner kites to expert kites because there is a range,” Liedl said.

Besides the appeal of sending a colorful animal-shaped sail through the air, nostalgia plays a huge role when it comes to kite flying. The festival is like a throwback to when more people regularly enjoyed outdoor activities, Vincent said.

“The kids get into it, but the adults really get into it,” he said.

Learn more about the event by searching for Menomonie Kite Festival on Facebook.

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