Flying High at Any Age

Kite-making and flying help keep Joseph Di Bene young

Something special happens when that childish urge creeps in and I feel like I am a lot younger. That special something happens to me more often as I get older…it’s a restless feeling, a kind of an itch that needs to be scratched. When it happens, I must do something.

Flying kites is my remedy.

What great fun I have holding on to the string of a kite as it breaks the bonds of gravity and soars magnificently high in the sky. I imagine feeling this way when I was a young boy—I loved kites then as I do now. The fact that I am a senior has not diminished my enthusiasm for flying kites. If anything, I am more enthusiastic.

We didn’t have much money but that didn’t bother me because I made all my toys, including my kites. I would ask my mother for some baking flour and mix it with a little water to make a paste. Then I’d glue newspaper to cover a frame that I made by splitting the handle of an old bamboo garden rake. My ball of string was made up of a colorful collection I salvaged from Christmas packages and anything else that had a string around it.

As a child I didn’t have the slightest idea what made a kite fly, other than that you need a good wind. Perhaps the mystery of how it worked was part of the magic of flying kites. While I now know a little about the theory of flight and how it applies to kites, that knowledge hasn’t diminished my love for kites or the excitement I experience when my kite soars gracefully above the earth.

I still make my own kites, and I still make them out of the same basic material—except now I don’t use old newspapers. I have also up-graded to wrapping paper and real glue.

Out there at the beach, my kites enjoy an enviable status of being one of the few, and sometimes the only, home-made kite that is flying. And because my kites are made from bamboo, they are exceptionally strong and can fly when other kites are grounded because of high winds.

The expression “Go Fly a Kite!” can be taken two ways. I mean it as an invitation for seniors to get out there and paint the sky with your kites. It doesn’t make any difference if you make or buy your kite. While I make my own, I have friends who buy their kites and they enjoy flying kites as much as I do.

I can’t think of anything more enjoyable…think about it; there you are with all that wind power just waiting for you to harness. There is nothing like it. The beach is my favorite place to fly kites. Always remember to fly your kite in good weather, in a safe area away from power lines and other obstructions. GO FLY A KITE!


The World Kite Museum is in Long Beach, Washington. The museum features exhibits, presentations, origami and kite-making stations (including supplies), a retail store and an annual kite festival.

Upcoming 2018 events include:

Asian New Year Celebration, February 9-February 25. Exhibits and demos

• February 17, 18, 19 features demos for serious kite-makers, RSVP by February 12.

Spring Break Family Fun (mid-March through mid-April) includes banner-making workshop (March 10-11)

Washington State International Kite Festival, August 20-26. Each day features professional kite-flyer competitions, daily themes including a “mega-flight” on August 23 (fly your kite for an hour and receive a special pin).

One Sky, One World, October 6-7, fly your kite at Long Beach to join this world-wide celebration honoring peace around the world

• Come to watch professional kite flyers on many weekends throughout the year.

The World Kite Museum is located at 303 Sid Snyder Drive in Long Beach, Washington. For more information, call 360-642-4020 or visit www. kitefestival.com

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