There's a saying in kite-flying circles that only kites in flight have the power to lift the spirit.
You can find out if that's true April 13 when the annual Spring Kite Festival gets under way at Marina Park in Richland. There is no cost to attend or fly a kite.
It's a day for the family to play together and have a stress-free day, says Greg Greger, the Tri-City resident kite guru.
The fun starts at 9 a.m., and it'll depend on the wind factor how long it will last throughout the day. Greger, along with members of the Ben Franklin Kite Society, will have some cool kites for people to try. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own kites. The city of Richland's Parks & Rec department is co-sponsoring the event.
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In the early days, it was held at Leslie Groves Park in north Richland.
"But the kite-eating trees became a problem, so we relocated several years ago to the open spaces of Marina Park," Greger said. "The festival attracts kite fliers from all over the Tri-Cities and even Oregon."
Greger, who turned 91 this year, and his late wife Margaret started the festival more than two decades ago. Each year, more and more people turn out.
"Margaret and I began making kites while growing up in Nebraska, before we knew each other," Greger said. "Margaret demonstrated (years ago) the building and flying of a Vietnamese-style kite as a volunteer at an event in Oregon. That was the start of her collecting, making and testing various kites."
Margaret Greger also wrote several books on kite flying while living in the Tri-Cities. Her first one was Blown Sky High. Others that followed were Kites for Everyone and More Kites for Everyone.
"The annual West Coast Kite Festival and the World Kite Museum in Long Beach, Wash., feature her kite books as a resource for kite makers," Greger said.
When Margaret died in 2009, her many kite fans flew white kites then released them into the wild blue yonder in her honor, Greger added.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal