2017-05-12 / Community

A Window on the Past

Kite Festival will be held Saturday, May 20
By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society

The Bug Light Kite Festival will be held on Saturday, May 20. (Denise Michaud courtesy photo) The Bug Light Kite Festival will be held on Saturday, May 20. (Denise Michaud courtesy photo) The annual Bug Light Kite Festival is here again. This fun, free family festival, hosted by South Portland Historical Society, will take place on Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bug Light Park. The day begins at 10 a.m. when the museum and gift shop open; a large variety of kites are always offered for sale in the gift shop. We stock fun, easy-flyer kites that come in all shapes and sizes – chickens and sheep and cows, oh my. For the best selection, arrive early. In fact, the kites are already in stock in the gift shop, so feel free to drop in any day before the kite festival (the museum is now open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to be able to browse at a more leisurely pace. In addition to traditional kites, we also carry a line of “fish sticks,” handheld kites on a stick which are perfect for young children to walk with or hold in their stroller so that they can also feel a part of the day.

Members of the NorEasters Kite Club and Kites Over New England (KONE) offer a tremendous display of their best kites; some of which are enormous kites that can only be flown at a place like Bug Light Park, where the winds are always breezy and there are no power lines to get kite lines tangled.

In addition to the show of fanciful and whimsical kites throughout the day, there are additional fun activities at various times, including bol racing for all ages (with parachute-type kites) and a candy drop for the kids (when a member of the kite club will send up candy in a kite with a trap door).

While the historical society keeps the festival free from admission charges, board members and other volunteers offer a fundraiser barbecue that starts at 11 a.m. When you buy hamburgers, veggie burgers, sausage sandwiches, hot dogs, french fries, and drinks, all proceeds go to support the museum in the park.

We are again anticipating record attendance this year and want to see happy and smiling faces. Here are some tips to help you enjoy this year’s festival:

 Plan to walk, if you are able. There is not enough parking within Bug Light Park. Please be considerate of our friends and neighbors who have handicap-accessibility needs and allow them to park in the spaces close to the activities. Please plan to either walk/bike to the park, or park at Southern Maine Community College or use street parking in adjacent neighborhoods and walk from there to the park. It’s only a fiveminute walk from SMCC. If you arrive with the expectation of walking, you won’t have to deal with traffic or parking issues and can enjoy the day to its fullest. Enjoy the outdoors and walk down the Greenbelt with your neighbors.

 Coming from Portland? Take the ferry. Portland Harbor Water Taxi will run a shuttle from the Portland public pier (next to Casco Bay Lines). Tickets are $5 one-way, $10 round trip. Check out their website for more information.

 Please use restroom facilities before you arrive. We are very grateful to the city of South Portland for providing restroom facilities in the park this year, but with this many people, there will be long lines.

 Plan to bring a little money. Yes, the festival is free, but please support the historical society with your kite purchases, plan to grab something to eat at the fundraiser barbecue, or a drop a donation in the museum to make sure we can continue offering this festival – and don’t forget the Rotary Club, which will open Bug Light for tours. They will have a donation bucket to help fund maintenance of the lighthouse.

 Consider becoming a member of the South Portland Historical Society (or renew your membership). The historical society offers many programs, events and services to the public with little or no charge, but what we do is largely made possible by current and former residents of South Portland who appreciate what we do. Memberships start at $15 ($10 for seniors) and $25 for families. Drop by the museum to sign up or renew your membership, or give us a call at 767-7299 with your credit card.

 The rain date for the Bug Light Kite Festival is the following day. In the case of questionable whether, check the South Portland Historical Society page on Facebook for information, or call the museum at 767-7299.


We hope you’ll join us for a fun-filled night of delicious barbecue and support the South Portland Historical Society on Tuesday, May 16. Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill, at 448 Cottage Road, South Portland, will donate 8 percent of all food proceeds from sales between 4 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for a tasty dinner for a good cause.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is executive director of South Portland Historical Society.

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