Pelham Kites and Bites sees successful second flight

Published 3:15 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – On Sunday, March 10, Pelham residents and visitors took off to Pelham City Park to enjoy an afternoon of color and fun during the city’s second annual Kites and Bites event.

Following an unsuccessful take-off due to inclement weather last year, the city of Pelham followed up the inaugural Kites and Bites event from 2022 with an even more successful sequel. With no clouds in sight, residents turned out in large numbers to enjoy community togetherness and the simple wonder offered by hundreds of kites all taking flight at the same time.

“Last year, we had to cancel due to weather so this is our second year and we had an amazing turn out for this event,” said Alicia Walters, assistant director of Pelham Parks and Recreation. “The weather was perfect and we had kites flying all over the park.”

Above all, the event served as a way to motivate as many as possible to visit and make use of the Pelham City Park while enjoying the first day extended by Daylight Savings Time.

“This event provided an opportunity for the community to enjoy the park while engaging in a simple activity like flying a kite,” Walters said. “We tried to create an environment where people could unplug, spend time with family and friends and enjoy being outdoors. We had people and kites covering all of the open green space.”

State Rep. Kenneth Paschal was among the faces in the crowd as he took an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon with his constituents following several busy weeks in Montgomery. In that time, Paschal met and mingled with Pelham residents and also tried his hand at flying a few of the kites himself.

“The park was bustling with activity as both adults and children enjoyed the beautiful weather for outdoor fun,” Paschal said. “People were flying kites, riding bikes, playing hula hoop and cornhole toss, listening to music, visiting food trucks and getting their faces painted.”

Among the features of the event was that of a full live-stage music performance from local band, Finding North, who are a common site among Shelby County’s restaurant scene and regularly play at locations such as Beef O’Brady’s, the Beerhog, Brocks Gap Brewery, Tin Roof and a litany of other private events.

“This was the first year we had live music and we felt it was a great addition to the event,” Walters said. “We love having local artists come and play at the park.”

Food trucks were also present throughout the event, with Hit Different Barbeque and Grill and Kayleigh’s Carnival Concessions both welcoming customers throughout the full run of the event.

Robbie Lewis’ Hoop For Fitness was also present and offered attendees the chance to take part in another youthful favorite—Hoola Hoops of all sizes.

“Watching children and adults smiling and laughing as they enjoyed hula hooping (was another highlight for the event),” Walters said. “I heard several folks comment, I can’t remember the last time I hula hooped.”

Current estimates place the total number of attendants to the event at around 500 people, which is a dramatic increase over the turnout to the inaugural Kites and Bites event. Of all of those in attendance, most also brought their own kites from home, with the city only giving away 15 kites for the event. Among the flying wonders was an armada that ranged from simple youth-style kites to professional and high-flying displays that climbed so high as to nearly disappear from sight.

The ages of the attendees were also just as varied as the kites being flown, with children as young as toddlers running with a youthful cheer while seniors also took the opportunity to try the activity for the first time in years. All of them wearing the same smiles.

“We offer a variety of community events throughout the year,” Walters said. “But for this event, our focus was not on vendors or (having) a large kids’ zone but to get ‘back to the basics’ (with) blue skies, a little bit of wind and kites soaring above.”