A light breeze and sunny skies made a perfect day for flying kites recently in Solomons Island.
The field across from the Calvert Marine Museum was filled with people flying handmade and store-bought kites for this month’s Solomons Island Kite Day. The event was sponsored by the Wings Over Washington Kite Club and the Autism-Asperger Association of Calvert County.
Deborah Ursiny, association president, said that four years ago, her organization approached Wings Over Washington to collaborate on the event because the organizations have a common interest in April, which is both National Kite Month and Autism Awareness Month.
Ursiny said it’s important to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders so that people don’t misjudge those with autism. The association wants to help more people understand the disorder and help those with autism function in society.
Melanie Osterhouse of Prince Frederick said it was her first time attending the annual kite day with her two children, Loralei, 7, and Jordan, 10. Osterhouse said that her mother- and father-in-law moved to Solomons about a year ago and that Kite Day also gave them an opportunity to spend time together. Osterhouse said she bought her children new kites for the occasion.
“I really enjoy flying the kite. I just don’t normally think about doing it,” Jordan said, adding that he would like to return for the event next year.
Although Jordan said the wind conditions weren’t ideal, he was able to fly his kite about 18 feet in the air.
For those who had no kites at home, kite-making kits were available inside the Calvert Marine Museum. Other people, such as David Ashworth of McLean, made a kite before attending the annual event.
Ashworth, a member and past president of Wings Over Washington, said he first became interested in flying and making kites about 20 years ago, after he saw someone flying a homemade kits.
“I was fascinated by it,” he said. “I decided I’d like it as a hobby.”
At the event, Ashworth was flying a rokkaku, a basic Japanese kite design with six sides.
Ashworth said there are a couple of steps to making a kite, including deciding what the design should look like and what materials to use. The rokkaku kite he used took about 25 to 30 hours to make, he said.
Ashworth, an engineer, said that making kites is fun and that, once the kite flies successfully, rewarding. He said he has also made a lot of good friends making kites.
“It’s a very good social gathering,” Ashworth said. “It’s obviously a level of escapism.”