When the Chinese built the first kites 2,800 years ago,
they turned to materials close at hand -- silk and bamboo. They weren't alone.
Each culture that has tried sailing fabric in the air has used native
materials.Ask Dan Ward, owner of the Skyward Kites at Haulover Park. 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. Jamaican kites have their own special characteristics, as do Colombian kites, and each Caribbean island has its 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, depending on 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, 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 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
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.
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The workshop will be held on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m at Haulover Park
kite field (10800 Collins Ave. Bal Harbour). The event is free, although
kite-making kits will be sold for $5 and up. For more information call
303-893-0906 or visit www.skywardkites.com.