If somebody tells you to "Go Fly a Kite" today, tell them it's a great idea.

So, grab your kite and head outdoors, because today is National Kite Flying Day!

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Washington State Is Kite Country

We Washingtonians know a thing or two about flying kites. The Washington State International Kite Festival is the largest festival of its kind in North America as a week-long kite celebration and competition held annually during the third full week of August. "Starting on a Monday and ending on Sunday, this beautiful festival boasts skies ablaze with color, high flying action, and choreographed movement set against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, WA."

The promotional website says:

Washington’s Kite Festival draws famous kite fliers from all around the world, and tens of thousands awed spectators, many of whom participate in the fun with their own kite flying adventures.

It sounds pretty spectacular and the cost is FREE!

Kite flying is simple, easy, wind-powered fun but it also boasts an electric past! Check out the full story of founding father Ben Franklin's legendary kite flying in a thunderstorm experiment....

The Electricity/Kite Connection

On a June afternoon in 1752, the sky began to darken over the city of Philadelphia...most of the city’s citizens surely hurried inside. But not Benjamin Franklin. He decided it was the perfect time to go fly a kite... Franklin constructed a simple kite and attached a wire to the top of it to act as a lightning rod. To the bottom of the kite he attached a hemp string, and to that he attached a silk string. The hemp, wetted by the rain, would conduct an electrical charge quickly. The silk string, kept dry,  wouldn’t....As soon as the thunder clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire drew electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine, was electrified.

 

That was the 1750's but kite flying has been around a lot longer than that!  Kites date back to China in 470 B.C. But they still get into the air the same old way!

Tips for Getting Your Kite Up in the Air and Keeping it There

  • Be sure the kite is assembled correctly.
  • Check the wind.  A light breeze (5-20 mph) is generally optimal.
  • Be safe. Don’t fly a kite near power lines, trees, or other sky-high obstacles. Wide-open spaces are best.
  • Be safe - You aren't Ben Franklin -  Don’t fly in the rain.
  • When launching the kite, be sure to have your back to the wind.
  • Don’t let the line out too quickly.  Let the line out at the same pace the kite is gaining altitude.

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