Brooke Hills hosts kite fest

WELLSBURG – Libby and Robert Strong, owners of the SMART-Center in Wheeling and founders of West Virginia Kite Festival, hope to see a sky filled with a variety of colorful kites during the ninth-annual West Virginia Kite Festival scheduled for Saturday at Brooke Hills Park in Wellsburg.

In addition to the kite festivities scheduled from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Cardinal Shelter, the festival’s StarWatch event will follow from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the same location. As part of StarWatch, telescope observations will be made of the planets, star constellations and deep sky objects. Strong said anyone who has a telescope is encouraged to bring it along, while amateur astronomers will be sharing their telescopes and knowledge of the night sky.

The Strongs decided to start the West Virginia Kite Festival nine years ago as a way to help engage citizens of all ages in an outdoor, hands-on, fun activity while blending aspects of science, mathematics, art, research and technology.

Robert Strong said the New Era Kite Club of Parkersburg is once again expected to be demonstrating a variety of large kites and selling kites during the event.

“We’ve got enough kites for the first 100 kids to receive a free kite, and a kid is someone that shows up of any age, any height,” said Strong, adding he encourages festival participants to bring their own creative kites as well.

Both events are co-sponsored by Brooke Hills Park, SMART-Center, ASTROLABE Astronomy Club, Near Earth Object Foundation, New Era Kite Club, Radio Science News and the SMART Centre Market. They are also funded in part by the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

Admission is free to both events and Brooke Hills Park concessions will be selling food, snacks and soda during both events. For more information call the SMART Centre Market at 304-23-DINOS.