The stage was set, a long table donning a bright red vinyl cover, the contestants patiently waiting for the start. Fans circled around the table, each supporting their contestant or just watching for the show. As the watermelon eating contest took off, so did the chunky spray of watermelon as participants shoved their faces into the fruit as quickly and ferociously as they could. The eating contest was just one of many opportunities people had to gorge themselves as the food came in many forms: watermelon, ice cream, Mulligan’s fish tacos. But, the fun came in even more forms. There were events running seamlessly throughout the day including the ice cream eating contest, the seed spitting contest, and everyone’s favorite…. the watermelon eating contest. Thanks to the planning of our very own events crew, and a day-of help from many volunteers, there were activities for all to enjoy regardless of their interests. Many kids tried their hands at a plethora of lawn games and toys, some even took the opportunity to turn their own hands to wax with the ever popular “Wax Hands” station. However, the favorite of the day seemed to be the Pirate inflatable that offered not only a large bounce house, but a waterslide to cool off afterwards. “Food and Fun” was the motto of the day, but the 10th Annual Outer Banks Watermelon Festival had a lot more to it than that. The entire festival was run to support the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, a group with a positive mission, “To help facilitate the education and awareness of practical bicycle and pedestrian safety to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all those who live or visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a positive and proactive manner.” Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed every year on the Outer Banks trying to cross the highways on bicycles or on foot. For Kitty Hawk Kites, this was an issue that everyone could get behind. Following the Watermelon Festival, when all the money was tallied up, there was over $5,000 raised! But, the awareness raised can’t be measured. Getting people to recognize the issue at hand and respect the rules of the road can have a lasting effect on the community. If everyone does their part to pay attention and respect the safety of others, hopefully the issue can be eaten away as if it were just a piece of watermelon.
Written by: Emma Turnbull, Marketing Intern
One of my biggest jobs as an events crew member is helping run Kids Days each week at our various locations. This aspect of the job is particularly fun for a couple reasons. First, I have some degree of freedom to shape these events into what I want them to be. Also, once the grunt work of set-up is done, I get to spend the day playing with toys, making crafts, and talking to children about everything from their vacations to their families, their pets, superheroes, and other childhood randomness. Basically I get to be a kid again for a few hours. While there’s honestly no “typical” day on the job, here’s a taste of what a Kids Day could look like.
Wednesday is the middle of the week, hump day, and most importantly Nags Head Kids Day! Kids Day at our flagship store in Jockey’s Ridge Crossing is typically the most crowded, highest energy event of the week, and in my humble opinion, a big bundle of fun. It’s an early day, but totally worth it to bring joy of a Kitty Hawk Kites Experience to so many kiddos.
Toy Demos with Chip
I’ll usually start my day at the office, finishing up some last second preparations. Depending on the day and the week, this could mean anything from printing flyers for upcoming events, restocking crafts that have been used up, or loading the van with any and all toys and games to entertain the masses.
Next comes set-up. Not surprisingly, this is the least exciting aspect of the day, but that’s not to say it isn’t completely essential to the success of Kids Day. First, the tent canopies and tables go up, followed by the smaller objects like pamphlets, flyers, crafting materials, and toys. The final step is making our set up look spiffy. We go for a “family friendly and lots of fun” feel. It features display kites hanging up, numerous games spread across the lawn, stations for face painting by the members of The Lost Colony cast and tie dying by Life on a Sandbar, and a table filled with enough toys and bubbles to entertain a bus full of rowdy school children.
Scaling the Rock Wall in Kitty Hawk Kites
After set-up, it’s not long until the real fun begins. By 10:00am on the dot (sometimes even earlier), our tables are surrounded by families eagerly anticipating whatever fun in the sun (or shade) we can offer them. One of the coolest and most unique things about the Kids Days is that I’ve found they really do appeal to kids of all ages. The littlest ones get endless delight from having their faces painted, chasing around edible bubbles (yes, you read that correctly… candy bubbles do exist… and we sell them!), and coloring and assembling their very own kites. The slightly older crowd enjoy trying their hand at the skill toys and games like Kan Jam, and every adventurous teenager finds it hard to resist the chance to ride the mechanical shark. Plus, the appeal of tie dying, wax hands, an indoor rock wall, and a splash blaster (think of a reverse dunk tank, where the water sprays up at you) transcends age.
As an outdoor event, Kids Days are heavily dependent on weather. Rain or shine, the show will go on, but even in the few short weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen how the weather refuses to be ignored. Kite flying in particular can be challenging in anything besides a perfect breeze. That being said, no matter what the conditions, barring a hurricane-level squall, we will find a way to have fun for Kids Day; it just becomes a question of what type of fun the weather will allow. If it’s overcast, sprinkling rain, and 70 degrees, the Splash Blaster probably looks a lot less appealing. But learning how to use juggling sticks under the shelter of a canopy, or designing and coloring your very own kite to take out on the next nice day are just as fun as ever.
Wax Hands have been a Kids Day favorite this year!
Just like all the other new experiences Kitty Hawk Kites has provided, Kids Days have brought a combination of fun and learning. And while there can be some stressful moments when a rush of 15 children and their families all show up at the same time wanting to try 10 different activities, I have just as much fun with Kids Days as the kids do. How could you not have a great time with a job that involves 4 hours of crafts, demoing toys, and playing games with a bunch of happy, excited vacationers?
Stanley the bucking Shark in Kitty Hawk Surf Company is always a huge laugh
After a few hours of socializing, entertaining, and teaching, we wrap up Kids Day. Everything gets broken down and packed back up into the van, and I return to the office for a few more hours of work before the day officially ends. Tiredness from a day out in the heat sets in, as does pride about a successful event, and excitement to do it all again next week. Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Days are offered weekly at select locations along the beach.
You can come play with us on Tuesdays at the Kitty Hawk Kites in Avon from 10am – 12pm, Waves Village Watersports Resort from 3pm – 5pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Monteray Plaza in Corolla from 2pm – 4pm and on Wednesdays at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing from 10am – 2pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Hatteras Landing from 2pm – 4pm. Information on all of our events including kids day can be found at kittyhawk.com/events.
Written by: Emma Turnbull- 2016 Marketing Intern
It was a beautiful weekend for the 34th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival! Typical with any kite festival, the wind was not completely cooperative (too light on Friday and too strong on Saturday and Sunday), but it was good enough to get the kites up and give everybody an awesome scene to admire atop Jockey’s Ridge.
Rogallo Fest ran on Dunkin’
This was my first kite festival as a Kitty Hawk Kites marketing intern, and I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when the weekend began. I obviously knew we’d be flying some kites, but I didn’t realize just how massive and impressive they’d be. For instance, our octopus, affectionately dubbed Squiggs, is 100 feet long! As you can imagine, trying to launch and take down Squiggs in strong wind was a bit of a challenge. There were even a couple times it took 5 people to wrangle him. Once he got under control though, he was quite a sight to see, with his huge yellow body and his tentacles flapping around in the clear blue sky. A couple other personal favorites of mine were our giant purple eel and the rainbow koi fish, which both slithered around in the air to the point where they looked like they were swimming against the blue sky. It’s amazing how much of a show can be put on by a bit of cloth, so strong line, and a few poles.
Squiggs, the 100ft Octopus- a personal favorite.
Now, I’m by no means an expert yet, but this weekend taught me a lot and gave me a sneak peek into the world of kite flying. There’s a lot that goes into flying such huge kites. You don’t just need the kite and a line; you need the kite, bridle, line set, carabiner, and sand anchor, and a bit of expert know-how. I learned about the safety when flying large kites, how to tie a larks head, and daisy chain just to name a few of my new skills. Basically, there’s a lot more that goes into flying show kites than I could have ever imagined.
Not a bad view
As an event crew member, my weekend consisted of a combination of physical labor, interacting with children, and teaching people about kites. To be fair, I didn’t shoulder a huge portion of the physical labor given my small size and utter lack of muscles, but that’s not to say I didn’t pitch in whenever and however I could. One of the highlights for me was set up Saturday morning, when I was helping John Harris, owner and founder of Kitty Hawk Kites, prepare and launch numerous large kites. It was surreal to be able to learn so much from a man who is such an expert in the field.
In addition to the eye catching show kites, visible from across the sound in Manteo, the Rogallo Kite Festival included free stunt kite lessons, and a Revolution Kite Competition. I spent much of my time tending to the larger kites and unfortunately didn’t get to take a lesson, but I did get to talk to many stunt kite flyers, from visitors trying it out for the first time to experienced flyers who travel the country showing of their skills. Watching the performances from afar, the twirls, spins, dives, and other tricks executed but the Revolutions and other stunt kites were every bit as impressive and transfixing as Squiggs’ tentacles in their own way. I look forward to trying it out for myself at the next festival in July!
Revolution Invitation Winners with Rev Rep, Lolly Hadziki, and John Harris
Between digging holes for anchors, talking to curious vacationers on Jockey’s Ridge, and relaunching kites that the wind took down, the days actually sped by. There’s no denying it was hard work, and being out in the sun for 3 full days certainly took its toll. (I have the awkward suntan/burn lines to prove it). There were moments I just wanted to stop what I was doing, lie down, and fall asleep on the spot. But for every funk, there was also a moment equally as funny or inspiring or beautiful to break me out of it. Like the moment a huge kite would get launched and I would just watch it float upward so peacefully into the bright blue sky. Or seeing a kid’s face light up as they watched the koi fish “swimming” through the air. Or honestly just taking a step back and taking in the whole panorama: a beautiful sunny day on the sand dunes with a bunch of colorful kites floating overhead and the ocean in the distance. I now understand peoples’ fascination with kites a whole lot better.
If you missed the Rogallo Festival, don’t fret… The Wright Kite Festival hosted at The Wright Brothers’ National Memorial July 16-17 will feature many of the same show kites (possibly even a few more), free stunt kite lessons, and kite making workshops for the kids. You may also check out this awesome Rogallo Festival recap video below:
Talk about soaring into the next phase of your life … literally! Imani Davis of Hampton, VA, did just that last Sunday in Manteo. Celebrating her recent high school graduation, Imani enjoyed her very first parasail flight … in her cap and gown! Wow … can you think of a better way to commemorate many years of hard work and dedication in school?! Congrats, Imani … you deserve it! Just another way that Kitty hawk Kites is Teaching The World To Fly! #KHKExperience
April has finally arrived and there is plenty of reason to celebrate! For those who enjoy tracking bizarre and unique holidays, you may be reveling in the fact that it’s National Humor Month, Lawn and Garden Month and National Poetry Month. But don’t worry … we won’t attempt to tell any bad jokes, educate you on tending to your blooming flower bulbs, or craft a haiku. What we WILL do is launch a kite and raise a pint in honor of National Kite Month and North Carolina Beer Month!
NATIONAL KITE MONTH
Every year in April Kite enthusiasts across North America celebrate the history and the future of the world’s favorite pastime by letting their kites fly. It is a month to celebrate the joy and happiness that comes from letting out the line, letting your kite catch the wind, and letting that kite soar high into the sky.
KHK Fly into Spring Kite Festival /Fort Walton Beach, FL
To kick-off our month-long celebration, Kitty hawk Kites invites you to Florida’s Emerald Coast for the annual Fly into Spring Kite Festival in Fort Walton Beach this weekend (April 2-3). In addition to experiencing the sight of 25-to-100-foot larger-than-life show kites of all sizes and shapes, this FREE two-day, high-flying event features professional stunt kite flying, demonstrations and lessons, and a family fun fly that is perfect for kite enthusiasts of all ages. The public is invited to experience and learn from several professional kite fliers both days, courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites and the Emerald Coast Kitefliers Club. Also, be sure to try out the Revolution Kites Simulator before testing your skills on a Rev kite. Receive $20 Rev Bucks to be used at Kitty Hawk Kites just for trying!
KHK Instagram Kite Promotion
Between April 1-17, Kitty Hawk Kites is giving away an amazing limited edition series of SuperSize Star Wars kites from Wind n Sun (48” R2D2, 50″ Millenium Falcon, 52” X-wing Fighter) to one lucky winner! To be eligible to win, visit our Instagram page and simply mention three of your Instagram friends in the comment section between now and April 17 at 11:59pm ET and we will select our grand prize winner on Monday, April 18. Good luck … may the force be with you!
NORTH CAROLINA BEER MONTH
April also happens to be North Carolina Beer Month, and for the fourth year in a row there are an exciting array of activities lined up from the mountains to the coast! It’s a month-long celebration offering plenty of NC beer-inspired events and festivals, tastings and dinners, special discounts, travel deals, giveaways and more. Ready … set … cheers!
As we’re raising our glasses to the finest NC craft brews from across the state, we’d be remiss if we didn’t show some love to our local Outer Banks breweries who provide locals and visitors, alike, with liquid deliciousness on a daily basis … Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, Outer Banks Brewing Station, and Lost Colony Brewery.
OBX Brewtag: Kegs Will Fly Again on October 22!
We’re also excited to remind everyone that the 2nd Annual OBX Brewtag event will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at The Soundside Event Site in Nags Head, NC. Flying Kegs, Craft Beer Garden, Live Music, Kid Zone, Food Vendors, and much more. You will NOT want to miss it! To get you excited, check out highlights from our inaugural event.