Big Week in Vegas for Kitty Hawk Kites at KTAI Trade Show


Once a year, leading retailers and manufactures from the kite world gather at the annual KTAI (Kite Trade Association International) Trade Show.

Kitty Hawk Kites is one of the largest kite retailers in the entire United States, so naturally we make it a point to attend the show each year to learn about new products, mingle with other kite retailers from around the world, and most important of all, have fun. Plus, we certainly did not want to pass up the opportunity to visit Las Vegas in January!

Many of the kite manufactures we work with where at the Trade Show, including: Revolution, Brainstorm, Premier Kites, Prism Kites, Skydog Kites, Into The Wind and HQ Kites to name a few. We work with so many different manufactures, and it’s great to get some face-to-face time at least once a year to learn about all of their new and innovative products.

There are a few highlights from the show that we wanted to share:

– Our own Heather Doyle was elected to the 2016 KTAI Board of Directors. Heather is to thank for our terrific selection flags and spinners that you’ll see in-store and on our online store.

– Head kite buyer Rachel Sanchez wowed Trade Show attendees with her presentation on “store within a store” retail programs, which is something we’ve experimented with heavily over the past year.

– And lets not forget about Kitty Hawk Kites founder and president John Harris who hit the jackpot while in Las Vegas. John was honored by the KTAI with the 2016 David Checkley Lifetime Achievement Award!


Here’s some information on David Checkley: 

Born in 1917, David Checkley was an amazing man who helped pave the way for all of us to have success doing something we love – working in the kite trade. In the 70’s, David was instrumental in the development of the US kite industry, opening and operating one of the first US kite manufacturing facilities located in Seattle, WA. David pioneered the concept of merchandising high quality fabric kites to adults, in fine retail stores like Abercombie & Fitch, Neiman Marcus & F.A.O. Schwarz. To satisfy his passion of getting new people involved in kiting, David also made paper kite kits. The FLY Me Paper Bag Kite Kit, one of David’s clever inventions, is still available today from 30 year KTAI member Great Winds Kite Company. In 1973 David began to lead kite tours to Japan. David’s kiting adventures throughout Asia opened the doors to International Kite Trade and began the introduction of American kite manufactures to Asian kite suppliers, where most kites are now produced. Mr. Checkley passed away in 1988, but his work lives on with all of us that make a business in kiting.

In addition to the awards mentioned above, we were ecstatic to be recognized by Brainstorm Kites who is celebrating their 10th year anniversary this year. They highlighted Kitty hawk Kites for our 42 year in the business, the oldest kite company at the KTAI Trade Show!

Visit KHK at the Outer Banks Wedding Weekend Expo 2016


Each January, the Outer Banks Wedding Association orchestrates the annual Outer Banks Wedding Weekend Expo. And each year, hundreds of soon-to-be brides and their families and friends flock to the area to plan for that special day.

More and more people say “I do” on the Outer Banks each and every year, and as a result, more and more great locally-owned businesses are ready and willing to accommodate to engaged couples by offering everything from catering and lodging to photography and pre-wedding activities.

Since the early years of this highly touted annual event, Kitty Hawk Kites has had a presence at the Wedding Weekend Expo. This year is no different.

If you are planning on attending the event that takes place on Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17, from 10 AM till 3 PM at the First Flight Middle and High schools, we invite you to stop by booth #165 and enter to win one of the best gift baskets we’ve ever given away.

Our gift basket this year will include:

– 2 Beginner Dune Hang Gliding Lessons

– 2 Sanctuary Vineyard and Historic Boat Cruises

– 2 Stand Up Paddleboard or Kayak 3 Day Rentals

– Kitty Hawk Kites Swag

In addition to entering to win, grab a friend and snap a few FREE photos in our state-of-the-art portable photo booth which will be setup at our booth. We will also have a few members of the KHK crew that will be available and more than happy to any questions you may have regarding Kitty Hawk Kites and the many adventure activities that we offer like hang gliding, kiteboarding, flyboarding and parasailing.

If you attend the event, be sure to use #anchoryourlove when posting on social media. Also, be sure to follow Kitty Hawk Kites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if you aren’t already.

We hope to see you at the 2016 Outer Banks Wedding Weekend Expo!

Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Find Help in OBX


Green sea turtles rehabilitating from cold shock at Roanoke Island Aquarium. Photo K. Wilkins Photography

Every once in a while an event comes along and it’s a reminder of how amazing the people who live on the Outer Banks are. That’s the case with a recent spate of cold stunned sea turtles.

Over 340 turtles have been rescued from the beaches of Hatteras Island over the past week. Mostly green turtles, with a few Kemps Ridleys and loggerhead in the mix, it is for North Carolina an unprecedented event.

According to experts in the field, the most likely cause was an abnormally warm December with plummeting temperatures earlier this week.

The turtles will die unless they are rehabilitated and that’s where the can-do and volunteer spirit of the Outer Banks has come in to play.

Volunteers with N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) and National Park Service employees have been combing the beach looking for turtles.

The turtles are taken to Cape Hatteras Secondary School, and then transported to the STAR Center at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. The STAR Center is a sea turtle rehab facility.

No one has ever seen anything like this and every where you look at the center, buckets and bins are filled with cold stunned turtles regaining their strength. Volunteers are constantly walking among the turtles, cleaning the water, feeding them and making sure they are recovering.

One of the most amazing facts is that only six have been lost so far.

The first batch of 85 has already been sent to Florida to be released in warm waters. Even that took a huge cooperative effort, from Fish and Wildlife supplying a truck for transportation to the permits that are required from every state along the route. According to the folks at the Aquarium the cooperation from all agencies has been absolutely outstanding.

The next batch of 85 turtles should be at the Fort Macon, NC Coast Guard Station by Monday. The Coast Guard has agreed to take the turtles to the Gulf Stream to release them.

A Great 2015-A Better 2016 on Tap

Scene from 2015 Hang Gliding Spectacular.

Scene from 2015 Hang Gliding Spectacular.

2015 was an amazing year on the Outer Banks and for Kitty Hawk Kites. We can’t thank all the wonderful customers who stopped by our stores and made it one of the best years we’ve ever had.

We’ve been adding new experiences—one of our favorites is the replica of the Wright Brothers 1902 glider that is available for flight. Pilots—check this one out. A living history adventure, we’re proud to offer this truly unique flight opportunity.

More new things we started dong this past year—Kitty Hawk Kites sponsored our first ever BrewTag, proving conclusively that beer kegs can fly . . . albeit not well. We are reserving judgment on how well beer can fly, though. After looking over the technical backgrounds of the entrants in the initial competition, there may be room for improvement over the current world BrewTag flight distance of 20’9”.

With Easter coming so early this year—March 27—our first big event is even earlier than usual. Our “Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza” is that weekend so be sure to check out all the fun.

We’re still finalizing some of the details on our event calendar, but here’s a good start on some of the amazing things we have scheduled for 2016.

Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza


Mar 25, 2016 – Mar 26, 2016

Kitty Hawk Kites will be starting off the 2014 season with the annual “Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza!” Come join the Kitty Hawk Kites crew at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing to celebrate the start of a new season on the Outer Banks.


44th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular

Coming in for a landing at the 2014 Hang Gliding Spectacular

May 13, 2016 – May 16, 2016

Kitty Hawk Kites is proud to announce the 2016 Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Show! Join professional hang gliders, fans, and families at Jockey’s Ridge State Park for this Outer Banks tradition. This event is the longest running hang gliding competition in the world!


Rogallo Kite Festival

Life-sized blue whale kite in flight.

Jun 10, 2016 – Jun 12, 2016

Francis Rogallo was a NASA scientists and inventor of the flexible wing. His inventions started the sport of hang gliding and his designs have carried over into the stunt kites, power kites, and hang gliders that are flown today. We invite you to join us and raise a kite at the 33rd Annual Rogallo Kite Festival!

Outer Banks Pirate Festival

Slash, jab, parry. Instructions in pirate sword techniques.

Aug 10, 2016 – Aug 11, 2016

Get ready for a swashbucklin’ good time as Kitty Hawk Kites hosts the Outer Banks Pirate Festival. Pirates of the Outer Banks and their friends will be camped out at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing. Learn the vast history of pirates on the OBX, and participate in Scalawag school for the little ones to see if they have what it take to be a part of Blackbeards’ Crew!


First BrewTag launch of the day. The Kitty Hawk Kites glider established a new BrewTag world record of 20', soon to be shattered by Loonies on Tab.

October 22

Kegs will fly and everyone will have a great time. Enter your team early for the best chance to win. Or just spend the day hanging out and sampling some of the finest beer around and listening to great music.

Hangin’ With Santa/Kites With Lights

Santa Claus greeting a family at Kitty Hawk Kites.

November 25, 26

Look for Santa to stop by on Friday and Saturday with Kites with Lights filling the evening sky over Jockey’s Ridge State Park after sunset on Saturday. This is one of our oldest events and we really look forward to it every year.

A couple more events that we’re still putting the final touches on. We’ll keep you posted.

The Wright Kite Festival-Held every year at the Wright Brothers Memorial in July

Outer Banks Watermelon Festival-Games, music, food, and LOTS of watermelon. Tons of watermelon competitions including seed spitting. An August Event.

31st Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition-A regional kite flying competition, organized by the Eastern League Sport Kite Association, features some of the top competitive kite fliers in the nation, as well as a massive display of show kites, stunt and power kite demonstrations and lessons, kite making activities for the kids. Usually in September

A Kitty Hawk Kites Christmas Wish

Headline from Wilmington, NC paper last time there was an Outer Banks white Christmas. Source, National Weather Service.

Headline from Wilmington, NC paper last time there was an Outer Banks white Christmas. Source, National Weather Service.

We don’t get white Christmases very often on the Outer Banks. In fact, they’re almost as rare as a confirmed sighting of Santa Claus coming down a chimney. We checked the records and the last time there was snow at Christmas around here was 1989, and that was a record breaking storm that brought with it single digit temperatures.

That seems to be more than a once in a lifetime event. After a an evening of research we finally found a reference that said the last time before the 1989 storm that there was a white Outer Bank Christmas was 1874. Figuring one white Christmas every 115 years, we’ll gas up the snow plows in the year 2104.

Nonetheless, the spirit of Christmas if very much alive and well on the Outer Banks. Our Kitty Hawk Kites stores are always stocked full of lots of fun stuff for kids, and a lot of what makes the holidays so special is watching the joy on a child’s face when a special gift is opened.

Of course it’s more than that, because what the kids represent is family, tradition and the love that binds generations together. Within that joy a child feels in getting a special gift is a lesson about the joy of giving, for mirrored in the child’s delight are the emotions the parents feel in giving that gift. It’s not a lesson an eight year old would know, it is one that an 18 year old will remember.

The Outer Banks at Christmas is a remarkable place—a place where family, tradition and a wonderful community spirit come together to create the best of lasting memories.

It is with that hope that all of your Christmas memories for this year and every year will be the best that the Kitty Hawk Kites family of employees wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.