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Kite fly benefits Renfrew

April 16, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - When Bill Flohr and his wife, Twila, vacationed on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in 1977, he took along a kite that he had as a child.

It flew very well on the beach, he purchased another one at a nearby kite shop, "and that led to many, many more over the years," Bill Flohr said.

Now, Flohr shares his passion for his high-flying hobby at Renfrew Park's annual Spring Fun Fly. Participants can fly their kites in the meadow at Renfrew from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and receive kite-flying advice from Flohr.

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From 11 a.m. to noon, for a $1 donation to the Renfrew Institute, people of all ages may build a sled kite under the instruction of Bill and Twila Flohr. The donation covers all materials including the line.

The kites are simple, but "they fly extremely well," Flohr said. "You take a sail made of a white plastic trash bag, tape two sticks and one string to it, then tie the flying line to it and away it goes. It doesn't need a tail. Some kites need a tail, but these don't."

When Flohr, of Waynesboro, flies a kite locally, he prefers a delta kite because of the light winds. Where it's windier, such as at the beach, he flies a box kite. While he said that it's a "well-kept secret" how many kites he owns, he admitted to "probably 50 or more."

A pharmacist at Home Care Pharmacy in Smithsburg, Flohr said that kite-flying is "a way to enjoy the outdoors without a whole lot of effort."

"Most things can be made to fly, it just takes the right way you fix them up, and the right amount of wind. It's disappointing when kids have a big, heavy kite and there isn't enough wind; they have trouble understanding why it won't fly."

While there is a rain date for the Fun Fly, there isn't a "no wind" date.

"You take your chances with the wind," he said. "I've been at some major kite events where there's no wind, and people just sit around and shoot the breeze."

Flohr has attended kite flies at the Smithsonian Institution on the mall in Washington, D.C., a Good Friday Fly in Lewes, Del. and Sunfest in Ocean City, Md.

People come from all over the country to the one at the Smithsonian, Flohr said.

Saturday's event is not competitive, he stressed, and is for "the fun of flying."

As many as 200 people have attended the Fun Fly with about 100 attending the workshop, although the average is between 50 and 60.

"For some of the kids, making a kite is the first thing they've ever done themselves that's a success, and that gives them a good feeling," he said. "To me, that's one of the greatest things."

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