2018-05-11 / Community

A Window on the Past

Bug Light Kite Festival is May 19
By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


The Bug Light Kite Festival will be held on Saturday, May 19. (Courtesy photo) The Bug Light Kite Festival will be held on Saturday, May 19. (Courtesy photo) The annual Bug Light Kite Festival is here again. This fun, free family festival is hosted by South Portland Historical Society and will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 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 (cash or credit) and we’ll have a kite kiosk outside, as well (cash only at the kiosk). 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 that are perfect for young children to walk with or hold in their stroller so that they can also feel a part of the day. Kites start at $5, although most are in the $10 to $30 range.

At 11 a.m. the festival officially starts. 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). Maine Marimba Ensemble will be play live on the field from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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

We are again anticipating record attendance this year; we 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. With thousands of festival-goers, the limited number of parking spaces within Bug Light Park are reserved for festival volunteers and those with handicap-accessible needs. There will be a road block on Madison Street (people launching boats are allowed through to the boat ramp, as well as those with disability plates or placards), so you’d be smart to think ahead if you are driving to the event. Please plan to either walk/ bike to the park or park at SMCC or use street parking in adjacent neighborhoods and walk from there to the park. It’s only a 5-minute 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 Walkway with your neighbors.

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

 Plan to bring a little money. Yes, the festival is free, but the event is a fundraiser for the South Portland Historical Society. Please support the 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.

 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.

In other news, we hope you’ll join us for a fun-filled night of delicious barbecue and support the South Portland Historical Society on Tuesday, May 15. 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. 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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