Dan Rattiner's Stories

Dan’s Papers 39th Annual Kite Fly

The thing about the annual Dan’s Papers Kite Fly, scheduled for Sagaponack Main Beach on the afternoon of Sunday August 7, is the fact that children who were brought to it by their parents years ago are now coming to it with their own children.

Who knew this could ever happen? The first Kite Fly took place in 1972. It was a tumultuous year. Richard Nixon was president. The sixth crew of Americans had landed on the moon. People had just gotten used to color TVs. Hippies were everywhere. And there were protests for women’s rights, Black Power and an end to the Vietnam War.

What happened on the beach in Sagaponack that summer was just another wonderful “happening.” Hundreds of people showed up with either homemade kites, storebought kites, or, as I recall, even no kite, but a limp string to show where one had been. A string quartet played Mozart. We had a magician and a face painter. And all the little children ran around laughing and screaming with delight. It was all free. No admission charge. No parking charge. No charity to support. No nothing. Just come on down and fly your kite. There were awards for the best ones. And everybody got a CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION. [expand]

Now it is 39 years later, and the kite fly is much the same, but the people and the times are different. There will be this year those who were 8 years old at the first kite fly who are now 47 and happy to be bringing their own families. An African-American, Barack Obama, is our President. We’ve just ended our space program. People have cellphones, computers and social media. They protest higher taxes, immigration rights and the national deficit. And we hope the war in Afghanistan will come to an end soon.

Kite flying enthusiasts (or just anyone looking to have some family fun) are asked to meet at Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack on Sunday, August 7, at 5:30 p.m. if they have a Town of Southampton parking sticker and 6 p.m. if they do not, kites in hand and up in the air before 6:30 for judging.

This casual kite competition (there are approximately 15 different categories) runs until about 8 p.m. with judging closed at 7:15. The Kite Flying fun is accompanied by face painting, jugglers, magicians, and entertainment by local favorites The Jim Turner Band and children’s television characters parading the beach to say “Hello.”

This year Bideawee, “the animal people for people who love animals,” will be present to offer tips on pet adoption and animal care. They will also be sponsoring a new Kite Category— “Best Pet Kite”—interpret this anyway you like, but we expect to see lots of dog and cat kites this year.

Winners’ certificates and a small prize are awarded to the Best Kites, one in each category (which will include but are not limited to): Most Colorful, Best Homemade, Funniest, Highest Flying, Biggest, Smallest, Most Beautiful, Scariest, Best Nautical, Most Artistic, Most Geometric Most Exotic, Most Newsworthy, Youngest Kite Flyer, Kite with Longest Tail and our newest category Best Pet Kite! [/expand]

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