A day in the life: Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Day

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

Competition Fills OBX Fall Schedule

Handmade kite flying at the 2014 Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition.

Handmade kite flying at the 2014 Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition.

Summer on the Outer Banks is winding down, but there are still a lot of reasons to visit. More and more, it seems, fall is becoming a second season all it’s own with some great events that are really worth checking out.

The autumn—especially September—seems to have become the time for competition on the Outer Banks. Kitty Hawk Kites is sponsoring three competitions—with our 30th Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition the granddaddy of them all. Just about the only Outer Banks competition that has been around longer is our springtime Hang Gliding Spectacular.

Here are some upcoming competitions that seem to cover almost every sport on the Outer Banks.

KITTY HAWK KITES BIC SUP ONE DESIGN-FINAL EVENT IN MANTEO

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Sep 6, 2015

Kitty Hawk Kites, Manteo

A family-friendly competition—free to the public. Whether you’re paddling for the first time or you’re already a pro, this is a great activity for all!

30th ANNUAL OUTER BANKS STUNT KITE COMPETITION

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Sep 12, 2015 – Sep 13, 2015

Outer Banks Event Site, Nags Head

OBSKC is a regional kite competition bringing some of the nation’s best kite fliers to the Outer Banks. Two days of kite flying fun for the whole family. Saturday Kitty Hawk Kites and friends will host demos and a FREE family fun fly day. Enjoy massive display kites flying high, and participate in stunt and power kite lessons given by pros.

KITTY HAWK SURF COMPANY KAYAK FISHING TOURNAMENT

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Sep 19, 2015

This is a kayak and SUP fishing tournament. All fish caught must be caught from your watercraft, no wading. Registration is online or at mandatory captains meeting September 19th at 6p.m. at Kitty Hawk Surf Co. in Nags Head.

This is a photo catch and release style tournament. Click here for rules and regulations. Competitors are allowed to launch at first light Saturday morning. All photos must be received by 5pm on Saturday in order to be eligible for judging. All pictures must show the fish length from upper lip to end of unpinched tail.

ESA EASTERNS SURFING COMPETITION

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Sept. 20-26

Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head

Highlighting the best of East Coast amateur surfers, skim boarders and body borders, the ESAs are a must-see event. Don’t let the “amateur” label prejudice your view. The level of competition is outstanding and the water skills excellent.

AMERICAN WINDSURFING TOUR’S HATTERAS WAVE JAM

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Sept. 21-26

Hatteras Island

An annual part of the AWS pro circuit, the competition is intense and spectacular.

Hatteras & Ocracoke Beaches-Spectacular

The beach at Rodanthe, looking north.

The beach at Rodanthe, looking north.

The beaches on Hatteras Island Ocracoke are spectacular. How spectacular? Ocracoke is not longer rated by Dr. Beach, Steve Leatherman, who is considered the preeminent world authority on beaches. The reason it is no longer included is because in 2007 it was rated #1 in the US and when a beach is ranked #1 it comes off the list.

Hatteras consistently makes his top ten list, so it’s not far behind.

Hatteras beaches tend to be wide with very soft sand. Toward the north end, around Rodanthe the sand tends to be a little more coarse, but all of the beaches are wonderful.

Most of Hatteras Island is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, although the northern end is part of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and is administered by US Fish & Wildlife. The National Park Service offers two lifeguard patrolled beaches:Hatteras Island: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach, next to the Old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site and on Ocracoke Island at the Ocracoke Day Use Beach about a half mile north of Ocracoke Village.

Dare County just completed a beach access bathhouse and parking lot in Rodanthe. The site may be the best on the Outer Banks.

For anyone using National Park Service beaches, there are restrictions in some areas. Look for roped off dunes and beaches with signs warning that the area is a habitat site, usually for piping plover, sometimes the American oyster catcher. Do not enter those areas. Park rangers will issue citations are even the most casual incursion and since the areas are clearly marked and easily avoided there is no reason to enter.

Clamming with the Captain

Clamming in Pamlico Sound as ferries go by.

Clamming in Pamlico Sound as ferries go by.

An afternoon on the water clamming with Captain Lee is an afternoon that is as close to a perfect vacation memory as could be created.

Maybe it’s being in Pamlico Sound by Hatteras Inlet; perhaps it’s watching the Ocracoke ferries go by from a perspective only the lucky get to see. It could be the eight of nine dozen clams that were harvested—certainly enough to feed a family of four with plenty left over to take home. It could be Captain Lee himself, his extraordinary knowledge of the ecology and waters of the sound coming out in easily understood snippets.

Or maybe it’s all of that . . . probably is all of that.

Leaving from Oden’s Marina in Hatteras, the cruise is billed as a clamming and eco tour, but it’s so much more. Yes there is education. At one point he stops himself and looks at the teenager seated in the stern of the boat. “This is like school,” he tells her. “You don’t mind do you?”

“No, no,” she tell him. “I like learning things.”

And it’s about clams—lots of clams, hiding in the sea grass in a knee deep shoal about a mile west of the inlet. It’s also about crab pots and pulling some up and understanding what a fisherman goes through to bring that catch home.

But mostly it’s about creating an amazing moment in time that becomes the type of memory that reminds families of how precious and special their time together can be.

In addition to the Clamming and Ecotour, Captain Lee offers Sunset Cruises and fishing tours.

For more information check out the Kitty Hawk Kites Adventure page.

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