Every country has its own particular style of kites. Dan Ward, owner of the Skyward Kites at Haulover Park knows this better than most. For 18 years he's operated the kite shop in one of South Florida's best sites to fly kites, and has heard countless stories from patrons who long to build and fly the kites of their homeland. Ward knows, for example, that Cuban kites are traditionally made with rice paper, feature colorful designs and often have long ribbon tails--typically made up of torn bed sheets. They've been making kites in China for close to 3,000 years out of silk and bamboo. Jamaican kites have their own special characteristics, as do Columbian kites, and each Caribbean island has their own specialty as well. On Sunday, Ward and Skyward Kites are hosting a kite building workshop that will give a chance for kite enthusiasts to learn how to build kites from their youth and for their own children to get a little taste of their family history. The kite-making workshop is free and open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Skyward Kites will provide the materials for making a kite from your homeland for as little as $5 and up, depending upon what kind of kite you want to build. Participants can also bring their own materials (everything from paper, dowel sticks, bamboo, silk, rice paper, and hardware are suggested) to build kites with but Ward says the simpler the better, at least for novices. Kite masters from Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and other countries will be on hand to demonstrate their at expertise and give advice on how to make simple kites. Ward says there will also be music and a food vendor on site for the workshop. A special appearance by the Pollo Tropical chicken mascot is also scheduled for the event, although wer'e not sure why. Ward once built a kite for Pollo Tropical, so maybe that has something to do with it. The kite making workshop is a first for Haulover Park and Skyward Kites but serves as prelude to the 18th annual Kite Festival held at the park on February 20. This year, Ward said he expects the festival to be three times as big as usual because kite enthusiasts will have access to Haulover Beach Golf Club grounds adjacent to the park.
Sun., Jan. 9, 1 p.m., 2011