Oakland County’s biggest kite-flying event will be held this weekend, June 1-3, in Lyon Township.
The 10th Annual Lyon Township Kite Festival is organized by the nonprofit Lyon Events Organization (LEO), and organizers are expecting this to be its biggest year yet. This is the only event of its kind of Southeastern Michigan, and this year for the first time ever it has expanded into three days of family-friendly activities and entertainment, adding a country and classic rock concert in the park Friday night featuring the George Brothers Band and DeWayne Spaw along with food trucks, a beer and wine tent, and illuminated kites flying all night.
The Kite Festival is held at the James F. Atchison Memorial Park atop a giant hill in New Hudson, and the area is always very windy, making it ideal kite-flying weather. Ten groups of professional kite flyers – yes, such people exist – are brought in from all over the world to show off their kite choreography with single-line and dual-line kites controlled by teams of several people performing routines set to music with the kites whirling around in sync. The pieces they create are nothing short of performance art.
The kites are often works of art themselves, with giant octopi and alien spaceships flying through the air. Even when there isn’t a professional performance, there are also huge inflatable kites tethered to the ground all weekend for people to enjoy.
On Saturday and Sunday, kids get free kites to fly (while supplies last). The durable white kites are ready to be decorated and personalized, and are made of a tough material that is east to fly. There are also kids’ games and crafts, a pirate-themed magician, merry-go-round pony rides, face painting, an exotic reptile exhibit with plenty of reptiles for kids to hold and learn more about, the Livingston County Concert Band, festival food, vendors, and appearances from Cinderella, Spider-Man, and Elvis.
Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday with a $5 per car parking fee. Friday night’s concert has a $5 cover for adults, but kids 12 and under are free and so is parking. The event runs Friday 6-11pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 11am-3pm. Groups of professional kite flyers perform choreographed routines all day through the whole festival.
The festival is always held the first weekend in June every year, right at the start of summer when the weather is at its finest. LEO plans this event year-round and is always looking for individuals and businesses to help out as volunteers and partners, and encourages those interested to get in touch through their website.