14th-annual West Virginia Kite Festival Scheduled April 27 at Brooke Hills Park Near Wellsburg

GO FLY A KITE — Robert Strong, co-owner of the SMART-Center and SMART Centre Market in Wheeling, makes preparations for the 14th-annual West Virginia Kite Festival, planned for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 27 at Brooke Hills Park. -- Scott McCloskey

WELLSBURG — Those attending the 14th-annual West Virginia Kite Festival can expect to see a lot of families having good old-fashioned fun as a wide variety of colorful kites will fill the sky above the park.

Free and open to the public, the festival will provide a free kite to the first 100 children attending the event, according to Robert Strong, co-owner of the SMART Center and SMART Centre Market in Wheeling along with his wife, Libby.

“We will have a vastly fun time,” Strong said.

The event is planned for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 27 at the Brooke Hills Park Cardinal Shelter.

The Strongs are quick to point out that there is a lot of physics and engineering in kite design and kite flying — the festival is a way to focus on the fun aspect of science and math.

“We intentionally made it so it’s not a loud, raucous kind of event. It’s just kids laughing and kites flying,” Libby Strong added.

Robert Strong said they decided to start the festival 14 years ago after giving some thought about the many different festivals that are offered around the state of West Virginia throughout the year.

“There’s a festival for ramps, there’s a festival for fall, there’s a balloon festival, there’s Bridge Day,” Strong said.

He said he mentioned to his wife that it might be fun to offer a free kite festival, and the rest was history after the two researched the idea after speaking with a tourism official.

Strong said the New Era Kite Club of Mineral Wells, W.Va., will be on site selling a variety of colorful kites and Brooke Hills Park will be selling food and beverages.

For information, call SMART Centre Market at (304) 233-4667.

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