April 1st – Eddy Kites, The Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Launch of NKM 2016!
First off, thank you for joining us on this journey for National Kite Month 2016! We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to gather as much information, pictures, videos, and fun tidbits as possible. We hope you enjoy what we bring you each day. Keep returning each day to find out more about a kite that may be a staple in your quiver or something new you never knew about. We also want to feature all of the incredible festivals that happen around the globe and we hope you enjoy them. There are so many cool things about kites that 30 days simply is not enough to share it all. So, don’t think of the end of April as the end of the celebration, no… the arrival of April just means we are kicking off the season of kite flying! So get out there, fly some kites, and have some fun!
The Eddy is the perfect kite to start our #30daysofkites blog entries in celebration of National Kite Month. While we all have seen or flown an Eddy, what do you really know about this kite?
The Eddy kite is perhaps the most iconic of kites. It is the shape that everyone recognizes, the shape that children draw when you ask them to show you what a kite looks like. The Eddy kite enjoyed widespread distribution as a children’s toy from shortly after the time the patent was granted up until the late 1940’s. Packaged kite kits were available in stores. Consisting of a sleeve of instructions with a printed paper sail and two spruce spars enclosed, they retailed for anywhere from ten to twenty-five cents in the United States and Canada. They disappeared from the scene in the late 1950’s and were later replaced by plastic sail kites in new ‘delta’ forms in the mid-1960’s.
The fact that thousands of children were introduced to kite flying through this kit and some interaction with a parent or older brother or sister and the “apparent” ease of making such kites has made the diamond kite shape the most prominent kite icon in western culture.
Named for William Abner Eddy, this kite was inspired by the tailless diamond kites common in Java. Traditional diamond kites needed a tail for stabilization, but the diamond Eddy solved this by utilizing a bow in the cross spar. He was also one of the first in America to employ what Chinese kite artists had known for some time, that cutting holes into the kite sail (venting) can help create even more stability. Mr. Eddy used the knowledge he gained in reconfiguring the kite to also improve upon the way that kite trains were built.
Mr. Eddy used his kites to record meteorological observations, of which greatly helped the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory. During the years the New York Times was regularly reporting on his trials, failures, and accomplishments. During those years he took the first kite aerial photograph (KAP) in the Americas. It is rumoured that in 1908 Mr. Eddy took kite aerial photographs in order to solve the theft of ice cream from his back porch; one photo showed two men eating the lot!
If you want to know more about William Abner Eddy, there is an extensive write up about his life here: Willam Abner Eddy Biography
Now it’s time for you to go and build your own Eddy kite! You can find a plans for this simple kite here
Eddy kites lend themselves to being great train kites, so once you start making one, why not make a few more, maybe 50 or even a hundred!
Did you know that with a simple tweak of the materials you can actually make an Eddy fly indoors! Indoor Eddy Glider Video
Cherry Blossom Festival DC
This year on April 2nd, the Cherry Blossom Festival will return to the beautiful landscape of Washington DC. Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
Today’s National Cherry Blossom Festival has grown from modest beginnings to the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. School children reenacted the initial planting and other activities, holding the first “festival” in 1927. Civic groups helped expand the festivities in 1935. The Festival expanded to two weeks in 1994 to accommodate a diverse schedule during the blooming period. Growing again in 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the gift was marked with a five-week celebration. Today, the Festival spans four weekends and welcomes more than 1.5 million people to enjoy diverse programming and the trees. Over the years, millions have participated in the annual event that heralds spring in the nation’s capital.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is kicking off kite season and celebrating 50 years of kite flying on the National Mall! Carrying the legacy of the Smithsonian Kite Festival which first took place in 1967, the sixth annual Blossom Kite Festival showcases the creativity of kite makers and skill of fliers from across the US and other countries through a variety of competitions and demonstrations. Bring your own kites or children can make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field.
You can find out more information about this event here: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/blossom-kite-festival/