by Craig Distl
BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. – It’s easy as pie to fly a kite a mile high this Labor Day weekend on Beech Mountain – all you need is a couple hundred feet of string.
The 11th annual Mile High Kite Festival takes place Sunday, Sept. 1, in the Beech town meadow. Located at more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the high-altitude meadow makes it easy for children of all ages to sail their kites up to a mile above sea level.
The festival includes kite-flying music and announcing provided by Terry Murray and Will Smoot of the Richmond Air Force Kite Club from Virginia. Prizes will be awarded for the biggest kite, smallest kite and best decorated kite.
Meanwhile, all festival participants receive an official certificate from town mayor Rick Owen that proclaims: “I flew a kite a mile high on Beech Mountain.”
Don’t have a kite? Fret not. There will be kites for sale, and the first 300 kids (12 and under) receive a free one. Folks who have kites are welcome to bring their own.
Other activities include races with kids pulling parachute kites, face painting, and a variety of craft and food vendors.
Ample room is available for everyone, plus there’s a reserved field for demos from the Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society (WACKOS) and the Richmond Air Force.
“We like to float the idea to come up and make a weekend of it,” says event organizer Calder Smoot. “Folks can bring their dogs and enter them in our annual dog show Saturday, and then attend an all-ages street dance Saturday night before enjoying the Sunday kite festival.”
The festival is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber and the two kite clubs. Hours for the Mile High Kite Festival are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there’s no charge for admission.
Dog lovers should make plans to attend BJ’s Dog Show, named for long-time town employee B.J. Hughes. The show is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Bark Park, adjacent to the town meadow. Entry fee is $20 for one dog and $30 for two dogs, with spectators admitted free.
There will be certificates and prizes for winning dogs, while all furry friends receive a ribbon of participation.
For information, call the Beech Mountain Visitors Center at (800) 468-5506.