For the past 15 years, Fitchburg has been the hub for regional kite fliers to commemorate their version of the One Sky One World International Kite Fly for Peace.
The free kite festival is scheduled to take place at McKee Farms Park, 2930 Chapel Valley Road, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. People are encouraged to spectate or bring their own kites to fly. Paper kite making for kids will be available from 1-2 p.m.
In case of inclement weather, the event may be canceled. Paul Fieber and Ray Blum, Fitchburg neighbors and event organizers, recognize that’s the chance you take with Wisconsin weather.
“We got rained out last year, and the event doesn’t get rescheduled,” Fieber said. “And sometimes it’s a beautiful day but there’s not enough wind or too much wind.”
The global event is held the second Sunday each October, drawing thousands of participants across dozens of countries since its origins in 1985.
“There was a big historic summit when (Ronald) Reagan was president, where a woman from Colorado (Jane Parker-Ambrose) presented the Soviet Women’s Peace Committee with a kite as a token of goodwill,” Fieber explained. “The attempt at that time was to get the Cold War to settle down and for people to continue to look for ways to resolve conflicts.”
That gesture has grown into a worldwide kite festival as a way for people to get to know each other in an enjoyable way without boundaries, he said.
“It’s about celebrating the really rich cultural diversity in our area, and it also has a second theme of a sustainable environment here at home and in the world,” Fieber said, adding that he is sympathetic to both of those ideas and would like to cultivate them further locally.
“Other than that, it’s nothing more than kicking back, and hopefully we have a nice day with a nice wind so we can enjoy interesting kites from around the Midwest,” he said.
Each year it attracts different kite fliers and styles of kites, but the event typically draws several people from the Wisconsin Kiters club. There are also usually sport kites, show kites, high flying deltas, banners and ground displays to “brighten up and enliven the (event) area,” he said.
Fieber recalled someone from Illinois once flew an impressive kite called a Chinese centipede, which he estimated had more than 50 circular discs that got progressively smaller and attached to three lines with a large dragon head on the front. He said kite flying is something people of all ages can appreciate.
“Kids come and have a good time, and we just do it to see a kid’s ‘kite’ smile,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”