Fun was in the air at Fairview kite fest

March 28, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

CLEAR SPRING - Sheehan Clipp's Spider-Man kite hangs on the wall of his bedroom, testimony to his winning the kite-flying contest last year at the first Fairview Outdoor Education Center Kite Festival.

Sheehan, 7, (his name means Little Peacemaker in Native American) came back this year with a kite emblazoned with a New Age cartoon character, but there was no contest this year.

Organizers decided to do away with the competition this year and have a fun day, said Ed Hazlett, the center's head teacher.


Sheehan and his little sister, Serenity, 5, were doing just that, along with other children and parents who turned out for Saturday's event.

For 50 cents, youngsters were given a plastic trash bag, some string, masking tape and markers to make and decorate their own kites.

They were small, but light enough to catch whatever breeze came by, providing their little pilots could run fast enough.

Donna Mittag, 11, of Smithsburg, made her own kite and decorated it with her favorite images - soccer, a face and a flower.

About the only thing that wasn't cooperating was the wind, although it occasionally accommodated the fliers with a few strong gusts, especially those who walked up a small hill to take advantage of what little wind was breezing through.

"Last year, Sheehan had 400 feet of line out on his kite," said his mother, Amy Clipp. "It looked like a little speck."

"Help him," she cried to her husband as Sheehan's kite dove for an apple tree. "He'll end up in that tree."

"Well, it happens sometimes," her husband said as he tried unsuccessfully to avoid the disaster.

Hazlett said the kite-flying event is a way to bring attention to Washington County Public Schools' 100-acre environmental studies center.

"We're trying to hold different community events to make people more aware that this is here," he said.

Last month, the center held a maple syrup festival, where trees were tapped and sap boiled down to make maple syrup, Hazlett said.

Next month, the center will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a series of events, he said.

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