Murray to celebrate International Kite Festival

By Sydni Anderson, Staff writer

The College of Humanities and Fine Arts has partnered with the Murray State Arboretum to host Murray’s first International Kite Festival.

The festival will be held Saturday, April 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Arboretum and will be open to the community. People will be able to fly kites and win prizes in the free event. There will be contests at the festival for Most Beautiful Kite, Most Creative Kite and Highest-Flying Kite. People can bring kites from home or get crafty and make new ones at the festival.

In addition to kite-flying, participants will be able to celebrate the ‘international’ aspect of the festival and visit country booths. Children will receive a passport book and can receive passport stamps from visiting booths. Japan, Hungary, Korea and China will be represented at the festival.

Staci Stone, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts said she is excited to partner with the Arboretum to bring the festival to Murray.

“Children and others in our community can learn about other cultures while participating in an activity enjoyed by people throughout the world–flying kites,” Stone said. “I look forward to seeing the variety of kites Murrians have and will make.”

The annual Horticulture Plants Sale will be held in conjunction with the International Kite Festival. Abby Hensley, Director of Development at Hutson School of Agriculture, said Stone and Airi Yamamoto, organizer of the International Kite Festival, wanted to have Murray State students participate in the event and share their cultures with the community.

“The festival was a perfect combination of events for the Arboretum,” Hensley said.

Although the Arboretum has held kite events in the past, the festival will be the first collaboration between the Arboretum Board and an outside organization. Hensley said it will focus on the history and culture of the kite.

On Saturday the sale will be open to the public from 8 a.m. until noon, raising money for the Murray State University Horticulture Club and Department. Sixty different plant varieties will be sold at the plant sale, which will begin on Friday for Friends of the Arboretum. The funds raised will support greenhouse maintenance, lab upgrades and plants for greenhouse classes. Hensley said the sale collects between $5,000 and $7,000 each year.

“I think it is really neat that our students plant, water and grow all the plants then are able to sell their product to a supportive community to provide experiential learning opportunities to enrich their education,” Hensley said. “The festival will benefit the community by providing an opportunity to visit the Arboretum, learn about different cultures and allow families and friends to spend time together,” Hensley said.

Airi Yamamoto, organizer of the festival, said the event will continue even in the absence of wind, which is required to fly kites. If there is rain, the festival will be cancelled.