‘Live, Laugh, Love’ theme at Kite Fest

Justin Butterfield helps his daughter Jocelyn, 7, get her kite into the air. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

KEENE VALLEY — The theme for the 10th annual Kite Fest was “Live, Laugh, Love,” and that is what hundreds of people have come to do on Father’s Day at Marcy Field. Located between the towns of Keene and Keene Valley, Marcy Field is snuggled up against the Adirondack High Peaks with views in all directions. On Father’s Day, that view is given a boost with the addition of colorful kites soaring and dipping through the air.

A couple from Glens Falls walk by the New York Kite Enthusiasts tent and ask what is the purpose for the event. The couple both skydive and have always wanted to parachute into the field. They were just driving by and had to stop. They stare into the sky watching one of the NYKE specialty kites, a 7-foot kite with a 75-foot-long tail, seemingly dip between clouds.

The purpose of the event, put on by East Branch Friends of the Arts, is simple, to have fun. The EBFA started Kite Fest 10 years ago as a family-oriented activity. With themes that reflect art, over the years EBFA has enlisted local artists to create original kite artwork, worked with schools to make kites to fly during the festival and quilters to create banners. According to NYKE member Gary Sharp, his organization has been a part of Kite Fest from the beginning. Though most people bring their own kites or purchase one to support the Keene Central School’s high school trip to Ireland, the NYKE members bring the kites that require a bit more skill.

“We bring the big kites,” says Sharp, pointing to the sky. “That 7-foot kite requires experience to fly. We have it staked with a metal, heavy ‘circus’ tent pole and driven about 3 feet into the ground. The wind is strong and I’ve had to go fix some of the special kites already twice today.”

Gary and other members of his group are generous with their time. They are flying two- or four-line kites and trick kites. They are quick to answer questions, untangle line, and just share their knowledge with people of all ages.

Seven-year-old Alan Desotelle waits patiently while his kite is fixed and quickly runs back to join his father, Gary, and 13-year-old sister Faline Yang. Gary gives Alan a few tips on flying the kite, but for the most part lets him figure out the process on his own. Soon Alan has his kite floating and weaving with 50 other kites in various stages of flight. Gary finally gets his son to sit long enough to eat a farm fresh lunch from the nearby Rivermede Farm tent.

Alan’s aunt, Jane Desotelle, is also the Adirondack Farmers’ Market Cooperative coordinator. She is busy with her own booth at Underwood Herbs as well as making sure the other 30-plus vendors are satisfied, as Kite Fest coincides with the season opening of the Keene Farmers Market.

Weather is always an integral part of Kite Fest. When EBFA Kite Fest Chairperson Tom Dubois took over the event’s responsibilities two years ago, he added other activities to make sure that any lack of wind, rain or any other obstacle the Adirondacks could throw their way, would ensure that Kite Fest will always be a part of every Father’s Day.

This Father’s Day wind was in an abundance. The field and nearby farmers market is an ebb and flow of activity. Some people check out the rocket demonstration setups or enjoy the Ultimate Frisbee exhibition. Other people make a purchase at the market and head on their way.

For many others, the EBFA Kite Fest is the place to relax, watch the kites fly overhead, and as the theme suggests to “Live, Laugh, and Love.”