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Kite festival in Geneva offers high-flying fun

Three-year-old Badir HomBataviwaits for breeze lift his first kite inair. | Denise Linke ~ For Sun-Times Media

Three-year-old Badir Homa of Batavia waits for a breeze to lift his first kite into the air. | Denise Linke ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 17, 2013 6:18AM

GENEVA — The world boasts many unique types of kites, and a lot of them appeared to be flying Saturday at Peck Farm Park, which hosted its third annual Kite Festival for hundreds of enthusiastic area residents.

“This fest is so great!” declared St. Charles resident Sue Henry as she helped her 4-year-old daughter, Mia Falese-Henry, decorate a free paper kite before sending it aloft. “We went last year and it was fun, even though there was no wind. So we came back this year and it’s wonderful. Other festivals have carnival rides: this gets us outside and reminds us of the simple pleasures in life.”

“I like coloring kites, I like flying kites and I like watching them, especially the crazy ones,” Mia added.

The “professional” flying field, which hosted competitive and serious hobby kite fliers, held several “crazy” kites, known to adults as two-line stunt kites. Their angular, batlike wings let them spin in place, swirl through figure-eights and perform other maneuvers.

“You can do so many things with them, it’s hard to list them all,” commented Montgomery resident Ted Beck, who works as the city of Aurora’s chief technical officer. “These are definitely not the kind of kites we grew up with.”

Other hard-core kite lovers flew parafoil kites, heavy-line stunt kites and huge kites that looked like escapees from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

“I would like to fly a really big kite one day,” said Batavia 8-year-old Sawyer Dymond as he prepared to launch his three-foot-wide dragon kite. “They just look so cool hanging there in the sky.”

While Dymond and his grandfather, Bob Pawuch of St. Charles, are veteran “public field” kite fliers, Batavian Badir Homa flew his triangular kite for the first time ever. The 3-year-old even coached his mother, Kim Homa, on the proper way to assist in the launch.

“I don’t want you to let go, Mommy, so it won’t fall down,” he said as she held the kite high to catch a breeze.

When it sailed into the sky, Badir jumped for joy and waved to it. “Bye, bye, you!” he called. “Stay up! Stay up!”

“This is his first time flying a kite, but I’m thinking it’s not going to be his last time,” Kim Homa observed as she handed him the kite string.

Five-year-old Stenar Lubben already has nearly three years of kite flying experience under his belt, said his mother, Brooke Lubben. The Geneva family has attended all three festivals, as well as flying kites on their own.

“We look forward to this every year. The kids just love it,” Brooke Lubben stated as she watched Stenar give his paper kite a running start. “My older daughters, Berit and Raegan have been flying kites for years, and my baby, Grie will probably start next year when she’s 3.”

“I like flying kites with my family, and the festival is a good place for that,” remarked 12-year-old Berit. “It’s organized, but it’s casual, so it’s easy to just have fun.”

It also was easy to have fun with a brand-new specialty kite. Giovanna Zavell of Chicago Kite, a kite store that co-sponsors festivals throughout the Midwest, said that many families arrived just to watch, but chose to purchase a kite from her family’s booth.

“People like the small parafoils because they have no [stiffening] rods, so you can just attach a string and fly them,” she observed. “The single delta kites are popular because they have just one rod, they’re colorful and they’re inexpensive.”

We always get a few people who see the stunt kites and want to try them, even though they cost a bit more. And lots of people buy the butterfly kites because they’re so pretty.”

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