Enjoying the warm, bloom-scented breezes after being closed up all winter in your house is a true delight of spring. Unless there is a serious thunderstorm going on outside your door or it is the middle of the night, you are now ready to do some kite flying.
What exactly is a kite? Kites are curious flying devices. Kites are known as a type of tethered aircraft. The word "tether" is a fancy word for a string, rope or cable that is attached to the kite. The word "aircraft" means a vehicle that is able to fly by being supported by the air around it. The support that allows the kite to fly into the air is called "lift." The lift is generated when air flows around the kite's wing or wings.
As air flows around the kite, the shape of the kite and the angle the kite wing enters the flow of the air (the wind) creates a higher air pressure beneath the kite than over the kite. This causes the kite to be lifted up into the air and fly. There is a little more to kite flying than that.
The best way to understand what makes a kite fly is to go out and actually fly a real kite, in the real world, on a real spring day, outside with sunlight on your cheeks and wind in your hair. Nothing can reproduce the wonder, excitement and fun of flying your own kite.
But where, you are asking, can you get a kite and learn to fly a kite safely? The answer is: The 12th annual West Virginia Kite Festival!
The festival is 1-6 p.m. April 29 at the Brooke Hills Park Cardinal Shelter, four miles west of Wellsburg on Alternate W.Va. 27. It is free and open to the public. The first 100 children will receive a free kite.
If you have a favorite kite of your own, bring it along. After a day of kite flying, stick around for an evening public National Astronomy Day StarWatch at 7 p.m. The StarWatch will start with a safe solar viewing, followed by sunset science and sunset observations.
As the sky begins to darken, StarWatch attendees will search for the crescent moon and then the brightest planets and stars and swing telescopes to them one after the other. Telescopes will be provided by local amateur astronomers for the National Astronomy Day StarWatch. If you have your own telescope, bring it along.
The West Virginia Kite Festival and National Astronomy Day StarWatch events are co-hosted by the Near Earth Object Foundation, Brooke Hills Park, ASTROLABE Astronomy Club, SMART-Center and SMART Centre Market.