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.

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.

Anniversary of Wright Brothers Dec. 17 Flight

The scene from the 1902 Glider when in flight.

The scene from the replica of the Wright Brothers 1902 Glider when in flight.

When Orville Wright took his place at the controls of the aircraft he and his brother, Wilbur, had built on a cold, windy December day, he was confident that flight was possible. Launching into a 20-25 mph wind, the Wright Flyer lifted into the air and in 12 seconds the history of the world changed.

Later in the day, Wilbur demonstrated that the flight was not fluke, flying the aircraft 852’ in 59 seconds.

December 17, 1903 is one of the most important days in modern history, and at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills the achievement is celebrated annually.

This year the ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. with local groups and high schools participating—the First Flight High School Advanced Chorus will perform the National Anthem (they are very good) and a Kitty Hawk Boy Scout Troop will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The highlight of the ceremony always occurs at 10:35 a.m. with a military flyover, the exact time of Orville’s first flight.

The original Wright Flyer is in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and an exact replica is housed in the rotunda of the Wright Brothers Monument. No one is taking them out for a flight, but for the adventurous who may wish to experience flight the way the Wright brothers did, Kitty Hawk Kites has one of the few replicas of their 1902 glider that was so important in learning how to fly.

It does take a stiffer breeze to fly it than our hang gliders (15-25mph), but for anyone looking for a truly unique flight experience, this is as different as it gets. Safe, the aircraft is tethered, flying this living piece of history is an event that will create a lifelong memory.

Where’s Santa on the Outer Banks?

Santa Claus greeting a family at Kitty Hawk Kites.

Santa Claus greeting a family at Kitty Hawk Kites.

Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head may be the only place anywhere where kids get to greet Santa Claus sitting under a hang glider.

There could not have been two better days for Santa’s annual visit to the Kitty Hawk Kites store at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing. Word must have gotten our quickly about his location because the line formed early and stayed long throughout the Friday and Saturday visit

Of course Kitty Hawk Kites is not the only location St. Nick be stopping by. In fact, we have it on good authority that the “fat jolly old elf” may not be quite so fat after a holiday season running from Duck to Hatteras. He’ll still be jolly of course, but Mrs. Claus tells us she expects him to be at least 20 pounds lighter come December 26.

It’s all part of what makes the Outer Banks such a wonderful place for families to live or visit. When Santa Clause comes to town around here, he takes the time to greet each child, and find out what is truly on their Christmas list.

For moms and dads wondering where Santa is scheduled this holiday season, here’s our Outer Banks list of upcoming Santa Claus appearances (hopefully we didn’t miss any!):

Festival of the Trees

Dec. 3-5

Held annually at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, the Festival of the Trees is one of the most popular parts of Outer Banks life. This year Santa will be making his appearance between 6-9p.m. on Thursday, the first evening of the show.

Manteo Christmas Celebrations

Dec. 4-5

The big event Friday evening is the tree lighting at the old Dare County Courthouse, highlighted by the lighting of the Christmas tree and Santa’s appearance. The parade Saturday morning is a wonderful example of small town life at its best with another appearance from Santa.

Duck Yuletide Celebration

Dec. 5

Santa rides into town in a fire truck, usually right around 4:30, but plan on spending the afternoon on the Duck Village Green. Live music, a crab pot Christmas tree and Carolers.

Christmas with Santa

Dec. 5

A wonderful children’s play filled with humor and a message. Presented by Bright Star Touring Theatre based in Asheville, tickets are only $5 and the play is a great introduction to live theater for kids. Indoor Theater, Roanoke Island Festival Park. Show begins at 7:00 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa

Dec. 6

A great concept—a delicious buffet breakfast at Pamlico Jack’s restaurant, followed by some one-on-one time with the big man himself! Proceeds are matched by Village Realty and go to the Dare County Angel Tree Fund. 9:00 a.m – 1p.m.

Hatteras Village Christmas Parade

Dec. 12

If there is one parade that is must see on the Outer Banks, this is it. A wonderful sense of  community, floats, motorcycles, Coast Guard, bands and of course—Santa Claus.

Christmas Past at Island Farm

DEC 12, 2015

St. Nicholas arrives at the Island Farm by an ox-drawn wagon, giving wagon rides around the farm’s trails from 10am-12pm. There is also a 2:00 p.m. reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” 10am – 4pm.

Winterlights Dinner With Santa

Dec. 19

The Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island give kids a last chance to get their Christmas wish list to the man in the red suit. Winter lights is a million light spectacular, turning the Elizabethan Gardens into a nighttime wonderland. Promises to be a magical evening.

Hangin’ With Kites With Lights

Kites with Lights, 2014.

Kites with Lights, 2014.

With temperatures still in the 70s and bright sunshine, it seems like Christmas is a long way off, but here it is November, Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and it’s a sure bet Santa is gearing up for his annual flight.

The Christmas season with Kitty Hawk Kites is really something special. We always begin the official season over Thanksgiving Weekend, with our Hangin’ With Santa on Friday and Saturday with a visit from that “fat jolly old elf”. If it’s raining or snowing or just too cold, Santa will be hanging inside the Kite store where they’ll be hot cocoa and plenty of cookies.

Saturday evening make a point of checking out our Kites with Lights at Jockey’s Ridge State Park as we paint the sky with lights soaring into the night sky attached to kites. Be sure to dress for the weather. It can be cold and windy on Jockey’s Ridge.

The holiday season is a time for giving gifts and Kitty Hawk Kites has a great selection of kites, toys, games, clothing, footwear—just about anything needed for kids or someone special.

Of course there’s lot’s of other activities on the Outer Banks as well during the holiday season. One of our favorites is Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. The Elizabethan Gardens is a wonderful 10 acre formal garden and during Winter Lights thousands of lights decorate the trees, plants and decorations. The Grand Illumination is Friday, November 27 and after that the Gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday to stroll along the pathways illuminated by the light of the decorations.

Kitty Hawk Kites Thanksgiving Weekend Schedule of Activities.

-FRIDAY-

Photos with Santa- Jockey’s Ridge Crossing

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

-SATURDAY-

Photos with Santa- Jockey’s Ridge Crossing

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Kites with Lights- Jockey’s Ridge State Park

4:00 PM – DARK