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Kites Soar At FortFest

OSWEGO, NY – The skies over historic Fort Ontario were ablaze with color Saturday.

Kevin Reynolds, of the New York Kite Enthusiasts, is seen through one of his “spinner” kites.
Kevin Reynolds, of the New York Kite Enthusiasts, is seen through one of his “spinner” kites.

Hundreds of people, young and old, from all across the Northeast descended on Oswego’s landmark for the annual FortFest.

Dozens of crafters, artists, artisans and kite fliers took advantage of the beautiful weather.

Kevin Reynolds, of the New York Kite Enthusiasts (NYKE), said Fort Ontario is perhaps the best place in the state to fly a kite.

“I have been flying kites ever since I was a little kid; never stopped,” he said. “They have gotten bigger and more elaborate.”

On Saturday he was guiding a 200-square foot “Navajo blanket” design kite outside the fort. The tails were about 100 feet long.

Jack Johannesen tries running with a boll.
Jack Johannesen tries running with a boll.

“We don’t fly these too high,” he explained. “We want people to see how big they really are.”

Because of the custom graphic on this particular kite, “It was about two months of sewing on nights and weekends,” he said. “I do another big one every winter I sit down and sew something.”

Fort Ontario is the only state park that has kite flying in its mission, Reynolds noted.

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, he added.

Kites of every shape and size could be seen over Fort Ontario.
Kites of every shape and size could be seen over Fort Ontario.

“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,” Reynolds said.

NYKE members filled the skies above Fort Ontario with colorful kites, some traditional, others in the shape of cartoon characters and Chinese dragons. One man said that he could see the kites all the way from Rudy’s at The Loop in Oswego Town.

During the afternoon, there was a Rokkaku (kite battle), the running of the bols (where people race while tethered to parachute style balloons) and the candy drop for children.

Some youngsters learn how to drill with wooden muskets, under the watchful eye of one of the fort’s younger “soldiers.”
Some youngsters learn how to drill with wooden muskets, under the watchful eye of one of the fort’s younger “soldiers.”

DJ Bob Riggio (R-R-R- Music) supplied the musical entertainment.

Some youngsters “enlisted” in the kid’s army and learned how to drill with wooden muskets.

Other activities for children include face painting by J & J and coloring pages featuring General Brown, the fort mascot. The General was in uniform and greeted everyone (including the myriad of other canine visitors).

The Central New York Ghost Hunters took reservations and sold tickets to the Ghost Hunt Tours in October.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in Oswego.

For more information on Fort Ontario or the festival, contact Paul Lear at [email protected]