MINERAL WELLS - For a fourth year, local residents will be able to "go fly a kite" during the annual New Era Kite Festival, which is expanding to two days this year at Mineral Wells Elementary School.
The festival runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16 and noon-4 p.m. March 17 at the school on West Virginia 14 in Mineral Wells.
The free event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16 and noon-4 p.m. March 17 on the Mineral Wells School campus. There will be kites, food, music, inflatables, face painting and other attractions, organizer Max Barker, president of the New Era Kite Club, said. Activities will include kite displays, kite safety and history classes, tours of the New Era One Room School Museum, kite awards and games.
A giant penguin kite flies over the Mineral Wells Elementary School during last year’s New Era School Kite Festival. This year’s festival is expanding to two days, March 16 and 17.
On Saturday only, free kites will be given to the first 50 children. The other activities will be offered both days.
"The New Era Kite Fest is a great way to spend the afternoon," he said. "There will be an kite flyer on hand to help you begin flying. There will also be stunt kite demonstrations and certificates awarded in a variety of kite flying categories for those who choose to participate," Barker said.
The festival's organizers are experimenting this year with holding the kite event for two days, Barker said.
"We've had so much success on Saturdays," he said, adding organizers also hear from many people who want to come on that day but can't due to other activities. "We decided to try opening Sunday as well," Barker said.
Barker is also president of the New Era One Room School Museum on the Mineral Wells Elementary campus. He said the first kite festival four years ago grew out of that program and organizers had so much fun with that, it has been growing each year since.
Proceeds from the kite festival benefit the school museum program, he said.
More information is available on Facebook at New Era Kite Club & New Era One Room School Museum or on the group's website at www.neweraoneroomschoolmuseum.com.
Later in March, Barker said the club will be participating in Artsbridge's annual Very Special Art Festival at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, offering kite displays and a kite-building workshop.
The festival is co-sponsored by Artsbridge and WVU-P for students with disabilities from school systems in seven counties in West Virginia and two in Ohio.
The club will also have kite displays at the Vienna, Public Library, the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library and the West Virginia Welcome Center in Williamstown from April through June. The Vienna Library will host a kite building and safety workshop on June 11, while the club will celebrate West Virginia Day on June 20 at the Welcome Center.
Barker said the club is also expected to participate in the West Virginia Kite Festival in Wellsburg, W.Va., on April 27 and at the Old Fashion Spring Fair on May 4 and 5 at the Barlow Fairgrounds in Barlow, Ohio. He is also waiting to find out if the kite club will be returning to Ripley for a third year to participating in the annual Mountain State Art and Craft Fair in July.