England has its Wimbleton. Kentucky has the Derby. Augusta has its Masters. On August 13, the Hamptons had the 49th annual Dan’s Papers Kite Fly at Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack, a family event and one of this community’s annual signature festivities.
The entrants got their kites up around 5:30 p.m. There was very little wind, and most of them went up and then came back down in just a few minutes. But one, a 20-foot-long human skeleton of a kite, all aflutter in black, went up, and stayed up until the event ended at 7 p.m.
And so, for most, it was a trying day for the 50 or so fliers who tried to fly their kites from beginning to end. But when the wind sprang up around 6 p.m., everyone cheered and everything went up to become a marvelous display of airborne kites, visible for miles and miles, a great showing of ingenuity, imagination and skill as the judges went around awarding the traditional dozen prizes to the fliers for highest flying, most colorful, youngest kite flier, most newsworthy, biggest kite and all the rest.
This writer is proud to be the founder of the Dan’s Papers Kite Fly, held at Peter’s Pond Beach, just a few roads to the east of its current location. I was 33 years old at the time. Today, attending it, I got to meet not only the children of those who came 49 years ago, but also their children and their children’s children. What a time.
The Dan’s Papers flight control team gave me a chair to sit down in at flight control given my advanced age. (Ahem.) I cheered the fliers as I watched the event unfold. As usual, the entrants just came down, set up their blankets and picnic gear, took out their entries and launched them into the sky.
There was no entrance fee, no registration forms, no rules, no parking stickers necessary (the town suspended that requirement) and it was just get your kite up and await the judging. The Jim Turner Band entertained as the Fly unfolded.
In the past, we’ve had riders on horseback from the nearby Topping Farm coming to watch the fliers, we’ve had a group of Greenwich Village artists another year blowing up inflatable floatable dinosaurs, alligators and monsters that were set adrift in the waves just beyond the surf line.
We’ve had professional kite experts demonstrating the art of Kite Fighting another time. And we’ve had clowns, magicians and face painters. Even Mickey Mouse one year. This year, an interplanetary robot blinked its lights at the event as we handed out the gifts to the winners.
The Dan’s Papers Kite Fly is one of the great events of the summer in the Hamptons.
Afterwards was Authors Night in East Hampton, and after that the Hamptons Show House in Southampton, the Artist & Writers Softball Game in East Hampton, the Hampton Classic Horse Show, the Montauk Music Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival and finally, in late December, the Polar Bear Plunges at Atlantic Avenue in East Hampton, at Coopers Beach in Southampton, at the Sag Harbor HarborFrost and along the dunes in Westhampton Beach.
The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona? Out there in Spain, they talk about the Dan’s Papers Kite Fly. See you next year.
We’d also like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the local businesses that helped support this year’s Kite Fly. You make it possible to continue this tradition that means so much to us! Thank you to Puff & Putt, Kites of the Harbor, The Cheese Shoppe, Mixology, Sea Eagle NeedleNose, The Corner Store, Shock/Shock Kids, Hamptons Mini Golf, Atlantis Marine World and Petit Blu. You made this day extra special for our winners and participants!