Clear blue skies and westerly winds made a perfect environment for the 2021 Martha’s Vineyard Wind Festival Saturday. The annual public art event proved once again to be a favorite of adults and children,
Hundreds of people of all ages spent the day in Ocean Park, hoisting colorful kites that ranged from professional-quality nylon flappers with fishing rod-like reels to small paper kites made on site during a morning workshop that kicked off the festival.
Sharks and squids were dominant figures in the air, recognizable by their silhouettes or colorful tentacles that billowed in the breeze. A long string of traditional four-pointed triangles formed a perfect arc over one end of the park.
Wind Festival regular Richie Salvo kept a watchful eye on three kites but was primarily preoccupied with a 20-foot bowl with patterns in black, yellow, blue and white. Because of the kite’s weight and the wind directionals, he weighted it by tether to one of the park’s lampposts. Even with that anchoring, vigilance was required to keep the kite in the air.
The effort was worth it: when the sphere whirled, other kite-flyers were delighted.
David Jacobs of Northborough learned about the festival when he lived in Falmouth, and has come over to the Vineyard on day and weekend trips since then. His flying companion on Saturday was Oscar, a black and orange octopus spanning a 49 feet length once his tentacles were aloft.
“This is my therapy,” he said. “It’s just a great way to chill.”
Sheryl Brow felt similarly. She began flying kites at age eight after a family member told her to “go fly a kite” in order to give her something to do. Since then, she has pursued the hobby and built a collection. “I have a little bit of a problem,” she admitted of her kite ownership.
On Saturday, she brought three of the 12 kites in her collection, including an arresting purple, orange, black and white butterfly.
Ms. Brow won the festival in 2019. She remembers the day with fondness but also recalled a struggle in strong winds. This year was different, and she easily walked double-fisted with her kites in light winds.
“This is the best time of the year for me,” she said with a smile.
Bicyclists and pedestrians passing by the park stopped to take in the spectacle. Music performed by Missis Biskis kept people dancing. All eyes were on the air.
This marks the 11th year since Holly Alaimo and Joan Hewson revived the festival, originally begun in 1967. On Saturday, Ms. Alaimo said she was happy to see so many people turn out, after last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic.
Thankful for the local business sponsors who make the event possible, Ms. Alaimo strives to continue to make the festival free and vendor-free, so all involved can simply enjoy the beauty of flying a kite.