Sports and Recreation

Go fly a kite!

By Kara Mayer Robinson for (201) Family    
A boy runs with his kite in Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park.
A boy runs with his kite in Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park.
Michelle Zahtz flies a kite at Overpeck Park.
Colleen White/The Record
Michelle Zahtz flies a kite at Overpeck Park.
Flying kites in Overpeck Park
photo by Dennis Comella
Flying kites in Overpeck Park
Gabrielle Fenix and her cousin Ethan McPherson fly a kite at Habernickel Park in Ridgewood.
Marion Brown/staff photographer
Gabrielle Fenix and her cousin Ethan McPherson fly a kite at Habernickel Park in Ridgewood.
A boy launches his kite at Franklin School in Saddle Brook.
NICK MESSINA/staff photographer
A boy launches his kite at Franklin School in Saddle Brook.

On the next breezy day, pick up a kite and head for a park, grassy field or beach. It’s fun for all – kids, parents, grandparents and even spectators. Almost any wide open space without obstructions is a great contender for kite flight. Here’s what to look for:

Say “yes” to open fields, parks, beaches and school playgrounds.

Steer clear of trees, roads, power lines, fences, lampposts and airports.

Hot Spots

Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park: The great lawn at Overpeck Park  is ideal for kite flying, says Ronald Kistner, the director of parks for Bergen County. It’s spacious, obstacle free, and 100 percent family friendly.

Terhune Park in Teaneck: Breezes from the Hackensack River are great for pushing kites along this big open field.

Dunkerhook Park in Paramus: This section of the Saddle Brook County Park has open field space suitable for kite flying.

Van Saun County Park in Paramus: Kite flyers can find several wide open spaces for testing the winds. And if the winds are light, the Bergen County Zoo, carousel and train ride are nice diversions!

Other good, open spots in Bergen County: Sunnyside Field in Tenafly, Mackay Park in Englewood, Faber Field in Glen Rock, Vets Field in Ridgewood.

Nearby and notable: Liberty State Park in Jersey City: It’s super scenic (overlooking New York Harbor and the lower Manhattan skyline) and it’s usually windy. Plus it’s a breeze (pun intended!) to walk over to the Liberty Science Center, a great spot for families.


Perfect Conditions

Not just any day will do. You’ll have more luck soaring to new heights if you pick a day with these supreme kite-flying conditions:

Breezy, but not blustery: Heavy winds or barely-there breezes make flying a challenge. According to the experts at the American Kitefliers Association, the sweet spot is when winds are 5 to 25 miles per hour. In other words, when leaves and bushes start to move but before it really starts to blow.

No drizzles: Don’t even think about flying if the sky is telling you that a storm is brewing. Not only is rain a troublesome co-pilot, but the electricity in clouds may be attracted to damp kite lines.

Kites for Kids

Kites can be great entertainment for kids, but without the right type of equipment it can lead to frowns and frustration instead of gaggles of giggles. Try these simple-to-use kites for best results:

Single-line delta: This triangular-shaped kite is ideal for young kids and beginners. It’s easy to assemble, maneuver and fly, even in light winds.

Diamond: This classic design is easy to manage in a steady breeze.

Parafoil: This frameless flier is super portable – it folds up into a pouch and can be taken just about anywhere. Bonus: It’s virtually indestructible.

Box kite: Also called a cellular kite, it comes in a wide array of shapes and sizes, many of which are fun and funky, and it’s super easy to fly.

Mix it up: Older kids (about 8 and up) can try kites that handle a wider range of wind conditions, including mid-size deltas and dual-line stunt kites.

1, 2, 3, Liftoff!

You have a fabulous kite and the conditions are perfect. Now what?
1. Hold the kite up with one hand while holding the line in the other.
2. When the wind catches the kite, let it rise while slowly releasing some of the line. (Emphasis on slowly.)
3. When you’re ready to reel it back in, simply wind up the line.

Wildwoods International Kite Festival
Wildwood has been called one of the best 10 places in the world to fly a kite. And every year in May, Wildwood hosts one of the premier kite festivals in America, drawing participants from around the world. There’s outdoor beach flying, an illuminated night kite fly, a stunt kite championship on the beach and loads of exhibits and workshops.

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