GORE BAY––A blustery day last July provided the inspiration for the Western Manitoulin Community Garden group’s inaugural kite festival, held this past Sunday, June 10 at the driving range on Highway 540 in Gore Bay.
Last year was the first year of operation for the community garden and the group was looking for ways to make it a true community space. Linda Willson and Laurie Howard were inspired by the strong southwest winds of a July day to host a kite festival.
The festival was originally scheduled for May but postponed due to fears of a late snowfall. June 10 turned out to be a perfect day, with sun and wind cooperating and a turnout that thrilled organizers and participants alike.
“We wanted this to be a family event as much as we can,” said Vanessa Glasby, one of the organizers. “There is something for everybody. We’re excited about all the volunteers and donations. We’re very excited about the turnout.”
In addition to kite flying, there were contests throughout the afternoon, a vendors market and a barbecue hosted by the Gore Bay-Western Manitoulin Lions Club. Gore Bay Daycare provided activities for preschoolers. Activities for the older kids included birdhouse building, kite making, making pollinator balls, planting in the garden, and games with Joel Lock. There was a vendors market for the adults and an ambulance and fire truck were on-site for tours and education.
Local businesses donated kites and kite kits. Volunteers from local churches helped put kites together. Live music was provided by Paul Best.
The kites were the highlight of the day, of course. Parents, grandparents and firefighter volunteers helped younger children get their kites in flight. There were contests for best homemade kite, most colourful kite, most unique kite and highest flyer. There was even a prize for best corporate or group kite. Kites were flying in the front and back fields and even in the parking area.
“It seems like it’s going to be an annual thing,” said Ms. Glasby.