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THIS WEEKEND: Fly a Kite a Mile High at Beech Mountain’s Kite Festival

A great sendoff to summer is Beech Mountain’s Mile High Kite Festival, Sept. 3-4. The annual festival, in its 14th year, encourages families to spend a relaxed Labor Day weekend in eastern America’s highest town.

Photo by Todd Bush

Kite flying activities take place both days in the kite field in the center of town adjacent to the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria. At more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the meadow allows participants to fly their kites a mile above sea level.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. On Saturday, everyone may practice his or her kite-flying skills. Then on Sunday, the experts get in on the fun. Both the Richmond Air Force Kite Club and the Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society (WACKOS) will give kite-flying demonstrations.

Each day, the first 150 children (12 and younger) will receive complimentary kites. The wide, flat kites in a half-tunnel shape are easier to fly than traditional diamond-shaped kites. Kids can decorate them and add tails.

Everyone who flies a kite Sunday receives an official certificate proclaiming: “I flew a kite a mile high on Beech Mountain.” Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories.

“The festival weekend is a nice, fun way to end the summer,” says Calder Smoot, event coordinator. “Some people like to come out and fly a kite, while others just bring their chairs, have lunch and enjoy watching everyone fly their colors in the sky.”

Additional festival attractions include face painting, bounce houses for children and food vendors. New this year are drone demonstrations and a presentation about the history and usage of kites by Andy Sicard from Grandfather Mountain State Park. At least once a day, a large American flag will be unfurled, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” will play.

Also on Saturday, an all-ages street dance takes place from 7-9 p.m. across from the kite field in the town hall parking lot.

The Mile High Kite Festival is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber and the two kite clubs. There is no charge for admission.

For info or lodging specials, visit www.BeechMtn.com or call (800) 468-5506.