Kites with Lights Decorates the Sky
By Kip Tabb
The holiday season is a time of traditions, from Thanksgiving dinner to the secret discussions children have with Santa Claus to the lighting of Christmas trees.
The Outer Banks certainly seems to have it’s fair share of community traditions. Over in Manteo they’re getting ready to light that towering evergreen in the back of the parking lot between Poor Richard’s and the Tranquil House Inn. That will be coming up Friday and is a marvelous slice of what is best about small town America.
Up in Duck on Saturday they’ll be lighting their crab pot Christmas Tree in the Village Green. Quirky, certainly different than a typical tree lighting, it somehow seems to suit the Village of Duck very well.
Then there’s Kites with Lights—the Thanksgiving Weekend feast for the eyes that Kitty Hawk Kites sponsors every year at Jockey’s Ridge. An exquisitely beautiful evening display, kite flyers reach deep into their bags and pull out the largest kites they can find, string the lines and tails with lights and launch them into the sky.
For the almost 21 years that I have been on the Outer Banks and a number of years before that, Kites with Lights has flown from Jockey’s Ridge the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Almost every imaginable weather condition has been experienced—there have been days when it was so cold no one wanted to venture out; one or two times it was too windy; there have been a couple of Nor’easters.
The one condition they have never experienced was too little wind.
It was a close call last night, but they were still able to launch the kites. Flyers couldn’t get quite as many lights on the kites as they and hoped and some kites couldn’t fly in those conditions, but it was still a wonderful night.
I ran into John Harris, President of Kitty Hawk Kites, and he seemed disappointed that more couldn’t be done. “I would like to keep more up there,” he remarked.
It wasn’t disappointing though because the event has become more than just the kites.
Santa Clause sits under the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing sign talking to kids about to trek up the dune. Children are laughing, running full tilt up the dune until they realize uphill and sand is exhausting. There’s laughter and a sense of shared experience; and even if the display wasn’t quite as good as last year’s or the year before, it was plenty good enough to remind us that the holidays are here and the Outer Banks is a special place to celebrate them.