OSWEGO, NY – The skies over historic Fort Ontario were filled with rain – and kites on Saturday.
Several people, young and old, braved the elements to take part in the annual kite fest event.
Members of the New York Kite Enthusiasts (NYKE), said Fort Ontario is perhaps the best place in the state to fly a kite, except Saturday.
Bill Coons, a NYKE member from Schenectady, agreed the grounds at Fort Ontario is one of the best place in the state for kite flying. But, Saturday’s winds were a bit too strong at times, he admitted.
He has been a member since 1998, when the club started, he added. NYKE started in the Capitol Region.
“We started the club in Albany,” said Tom Shanken a member of NYKE as well as a member of the Friends of Fort Ontario’s board. “I just started flying kites as a kid and I never stopped. I started building my own kites; a lot of our members build their own kites.”
“There is a lot of wind up there today,” said Todd Brown of Fulton. “It’s is swirling around and shoving a lot of the kites down.”
He was using both hands to navigate his kite. With the strong winds blowing over it, it seemed to sing as it dodged back and forth in the sky.
He attended the 2012 kite fest and joined NYKE at that time.
It 2011, he had no kites. Now, he’s got more than a dozen.
“We fly these things over the northeastern United States and Canada, basically wherever we can. It’s a great way to spend time outside and enjoy the great weather like this,” Brown said.
“It used to be huge,” Shanken said of the festival. “We definitely have the wind for it. But now the past couple of years, the weather hasn’t cooperated. But we’ll bring it back. Oswego has a lot of wind; and we like to use it.”
The club has members from Canada and all over the Northeast.
Uriah Sharki, 3, was having some difficulty keeping his space shuttle kite aloft.
Despite having to stop every few yards and start again, the youngster said, “It’s fun!”
Eric Bomgren brought his 1955 Olds 98 to show off at the classic car segment of the fest.
He had done a lot of work himself restoring the four-door sedan.
The car has no air conditioner “and no heater. That’s why in October, I put it up for the winter,” he noted.
Fort Ontario is the only state park that has kite flying in its mission.
In other places, park police could show up and they have the discretion to tell people they can’t fly a kite in the park, said Paul Lear, historic site manager.
Some visitors took a tour of the historic fort. They could also make reservations for the fort’s annual Ghost Tours, scheduled for October 17 and 18.
Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in Oswego.
For more information, call (315) 343-4711 or visit www.fortontario.com