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Kites ride a friendly breeze

April 14, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In honor of National Kite Month, Renfrew Institute held its 10th annual Fun Fly on Saturday, complete with clear blue skies and a stiff breeze.

Renfrew Institute Director Melodie Anderson-Smith said about 200 people usually attend the event in a meadow on the grounds of Renfrew Museum and Park in Waynesboro.

Bill Flohr, a kite enthusiast and coordinator of the event, assisted children in making their own sled-type kite. Under Flohr's supervision, children taped precut sticks to sheets of white plastic cut from garbage bags and attached a string.

Then they stepped over into the meadow to fly them.

"The best part is that the kites actually fly," Anderson-Smith said. "It's a real satisfying thing for the kids."

Flohr said that by noon, 25 to 30 children had created kites.

Flohr said he has been flying and making kites since 1977, and is strictly a "fun flier."

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"I like to hang out and have a good time," he said.

The Waynesboro resident is a pharmacist at Home Care Pharmacy in Smithsburg.

Christie Kellish's children, Mikey, 3, and Kelsey, 4, taped the sticks and string to the white plastic by themselves. They enjoyed running through the lush grass in the meadow.

Pre-schooler Rebecca Hill, 4, flew her store-bought Barbie kite under the supervision of her father, Dan Hill, of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. They made a long tail from a garbage bag to give the kite more stability.

While her father reeled the kite in, Rebecca picked a flower and said she would take it home to her mother, Sherry.

Mike Knepper of Chambersburg had his kite attached to a fishing rod and reel.

"That's the only way to do it if you're a fisherman," he said.

Knepper said he never really outgrew flying kites. He flew them as a child, then with his four children, and now enjoys the sport with his grandchildren.

His wife, Judy, accompanied him to the Fun Fly. She said that one of his kites had been up about a quarter of a mile earlier in the morning.

Attracting a lot of attention were George and Sam Adams, brothers from Chambersburg who were assembling a large kite. Built by George Adams, the Aerocurve kite is a copy of one made and flown in 1897 by Charles Lamson.

George Adams said he saw a picture of the old-fashioned kite in a book and liked the design because it looked like an old airplane. He had no measurements for its construction, and building it took about a month of full-time work.

The kite's frame is oak with wire struts, and is covered with muslin. The huge kite did not fit in the Adams' van, so it had to be partially assembled in the meadow.

Such kites are usually flown near the ocean, the brothers said, where there is a strong, steady wind.

The Adams brothers are in the antiques business, and had the workshop facilities to build the kite.

"We had it hanging in the shop," Sam Adams said, "and it looked like the Air and Space Museum."

George Adams said the kite "looks good on the ground," but he had never flown it.

After some assembly and a quick trip to Radio Shack for small parts that had been misplaced, the brothers were ready to attempt the Aerocurve's maiden flight.

Spectators clapped when the kite went briefly airborne.

"That was about as long as the Wright brothers' first flight lasted, so it was historically accurate," onlooker Dan Hill said.

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