Let’s Go Fly a Kite

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Bill Doan flies kites on the beach all year around.
Bill Doan flies kites on the beach all year around.

Colorful objects flying above the sandy beaches often greet South Padre Island visitors and residents. Some look rather weird like a giant pink octopus with undulated tentacles. Others are of fish species, medusas, turtles, purple frogs and even patriotic themes.

The potpourri of these flying objects are actually kites people enjoy and fly as a hobby practically all year around. Remember the boxed- or diamond-shaped kites of yesterday flown with a string? As with anything today, these flying objects are more sophisticated and can cost several thousand dollars.

Rick and Paula Villarreal took on this hobby about a decade ago, investing thousands of dollars during that time.

Kites below SPI skies.
Kites below SPI skies.

“It’s truly an art to fly kites,” Rick said, “and we love it.”

His wife said even though they picked up the hobby 10 years ago, they became more fanatic about it in the last three years. Asked why they like this sport so much, she replied, “Have you ever seen somebody flying a kite that is sad?”

An SPI tradition

The kite fad at the Island got off the ground with the opening of Windchaser’s Kite Shop some 30 years ago, which is now closed. In 1998, an Ohio family opened B&S Kites on Padre Boulevard.

“The B is for Bill and the S for Susie,” Bill Doan said. “Now you know what BS stands for.”

A former truck driver, the 70-year-old man said he took the hobby of flying kites into a business. He said the merchandise he has costs from as little as a few dollars into the thousands. The shop has hundreds of kites of all shapes and forms. Some are of farm animals, marine life, birds and butterflies, skulls and so on.

Doan said any one can fly a kite and he gives free lessons with no strings attached.

SPI Kite Fest

For those interested in learning and watching kites as never seen before, the Island is hosting SPI Kite Fest 2020 on Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1.

The first show is indoor kite performances at the Island Convention Centre from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. From 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, flying kite demonstrations, some of which involves one or persons flying two kites that sort of dance to the sound of music, will be held outdoors just north of the Convention Centre. Admission is free on both days.

For more information, call 956-761-1248.

A kit in an octopus shape gets its shape and support by what is known as laundry.
A kit in an octopus shape gets its shape and support by what is known as laundry.

Freelance journalist Tony Vindell has more than 30 years experience as a newspaper reporter. Born in Nicaragua, he studied journalism and political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He began his career working for The Pecos Enterprise in West Texas. Vindell also worked for The Laredo News, The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, Port Isabel News Press and the Raymondville Chronicle/News. Vindell, who lives in Brownsville with his wife Sharon, enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.

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