Martha’s Vineyard kite flyers sing, “Let the Four Winds Blow”

Melinda Williams tunes up a kite for her friend Jahvon to fly. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

From a tiny tot with a tiny kite to a family hoisting both a 90-footer and a 105-foot string of multi-colored kites, the first annual Martha’s Vineyard Wind Festival was a carefree day for all ages and all levels of kite making and flying. More than 100 kites were flown in Ocean Park during the day-long event last Saturday, according to co-organizer Holly Alaimo.

The festival ran concurrently at both Waban/Alley and Ocean Parks from noon until around six. The festivities started off at Waban Park across from the Inkwell Beach where a handful of artisans displayed their wares. Jake Gifford of the Lazy Frog game store on Circuit Avenue held a frisbee golf demo and the Vineyard Gazette hosted a booth where people could construct kites from a page of the newspaper.

At 1 pm, a small parade led participants over to Ocean Park for the main event, a kite flying contest with five categories and three age groups. Many non-contestants also flew kites and a number of people just showed up for the spectacle. Some entrants travelled from off-Island to take part, including Oliver Halperin of Dedham, whose 90-foot snake-like kite won for largest kite in the 12- to 15-year-old age group. His father, Mark Halperin of Vineyard Haven, flew the largest kite in the over-16 age group, a 105-foot-long streamer built by his 97-year-old father.

After steadfastly holding her pirate kite high in the sky for more than two hours, three-year-old Sophia Edwards of Quincy walked away beaming, with the 11-and-under award for smallest kite.

“I think we were all winners,” Ms. Alaimo said after the event. “It was the most wonderful way to start an event. Everybody just had fun. There was no one with a computer or Blackberry there. The best thing was to know that people were really there in the moment. It was that in-the-moment feeling that I loved so much.”