On Saturday, kites will again fill the skies of Cherry Valley.
The Cherry Valley Kite Festival is put on every two years by Cherry Valley Artworks, an arts nonprofit based in Cherry Valley.
“It’s fun for everyone,” said Jane Sapinsky, executive director of Cherry Valley Artworks.
The festival was first held in 2006. Sapinsky said that one of the motivators behind the creation of the event was the controversy over the possible building of wind turbines in Cherry Valley. She said that the festival, while not taking a position on the turbine issue, sought to use wind to bring the community together.
This year’s festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a field at Glensfoot Farm, the location of the four previous Kite Festivals. The field is off Campbell Road.
“It’s just a beautiful, beautiful location to spend a fall day,” said Sapinsky.
She said that the farm has been in the same family for more than 200 years. .
According to Sapinsky, three kite clubs, New York Kite Enthusiasts, Kites Over New England and Niagara Wind Riders have played a key role in the festival since its beginning and will be present flying their kites at this year’s festival as well.
“Really the people who put on the show are the kite clubs that come,” she said.
“They get to kite festivals all around the world,” said Sapinsky. “They’re part of a huge kiting culture.”
However, members of the general public are welcome to, and encouraged, to fly kites at the festival.
“A lot of (the festival) is people flying their own kites,” said Sapinsky.
There will also be various kiting events. One event will be a precision team flying demonstration, by the group Rev Riders, which involves performers flying kites in formation to music.
“It’s like an aerial ballet really,” said Sapinsky.
Other kiting events include a Rokkaku Battle, which will involve participants trying to knock each other’s kite out of the sky, and the Running of the Bols, in which participants race with kites strapped to their backs. There will be a demonstration of kite fighting techniques before the Rokkaku Battle takes place. People will race in the Running of the Bols by age category.
The festival will also feature hay rides, music by Mike Feulner and guest artists and food from local restaurants, churches and nonprofits. There will also be a candy drop, where candy will be dropped from kites onto the crowd below.
Admission to the festival is $3, with on site parking included. Children under 10 will be admitted for free.
After the festival, there will be an indoor kite flying demonstration at 7 p.m. at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School. Admission to the indoor kite fly is separate and will also be $3.
One of the individuals who contributed to the festival’s founding was George Peters, a kite maker and aerial sculptor based out of Boulder, Colo. Peters has a connection to Cherry Valley through Pam Livingston, who he considers to be his stepdaughter. Livingston is active in Cherry Valley artworks, and Peters said that it was she who originally approached Sapinsky to invite him in to help organize the first festival.
“I always like … going to the first festival of anything,” said Peters, when asked about the experience of attending that original kite festival.
Peters and his partner, Melanie Walker, also created “Flight Patterns,” a public art installation consisting of 10 banners with colorful butterfly patterns on them, that was displayed at The Glimmerglass Festival this summer. “Flight Patterns” in addition to a number of other banners, will be on display at this year’s kite festival.
“I always like lots of banners,” said Peters, who noted that they are particularly useful when there isn’t a lot of wind, in order to have something at a kite festival that is moving.
Peters will be returning to the kite festival this year for the first time since he helped organize it and will be hosting a paper kite building workshop on Friday.
“There are a few more spaces,” said Sapinsky, noting that the workshop had almost filled up.
Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to build several different kites out of bamboo and Japanese paper. It will take place at 1 p.m. at the old school building and Walker will assist Peters in teaching it. The cost is $30 for adults and $20 for children and teens.
“I really love doing workshops,” said Peters, who noted that this particular workshop is geared more towards people who already know kites, although beginners will still be able to participate.
Another workshop will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the old school gym. Taught by Archie Stewart, this workshop will teach children how to build their own kites, which they will be able to fly at the kite festival later on in the day. The cost for the workshop is $5, including materials.
Sapinsky said the amount of effort it takes to run the festival makes it better suited to be a semi-annual event.
“It’s just a very very large undertaking,” said Sapinsky.
She also mentioned that funding for the festival this year had partially come from an Otsego Bed Tax Grant. She said that every year the festival has been held, it has received some financial support from the county.
Sapinsky said that the last festival drew 1,200 people.
“We’re expecting a larger crowd this year,” she said.
As for Peters, he said that he will be flying a kite called “Firebird,” which he made in Hawaii in 1978, at the festival. He said that the kite has a 20-foot wingspan and is 40-feet long.
“I made it for a gallery show,” said Peters, who said that he’s only flown it once before, and that he recently rediscovered it in a closet.
Peters parting words about the festival were, “Please come.”
For m ore information about the Cherry Valley Kite Festival go to www.cvartworks.org.