Spring is in the air at Kites Over Kingston

KINGSTON — Penny Lingenfelter roved the Kingston waterfront Saturday dressed as though she'd just stepped out of Neverland. The green tunic, brown leggings and pointy green hat are a favorite costume for the professional kite flier from Port Orchard, who has traveled the world for 20 years teaching the high flying art.

Lingenferter was a surprise guest at Kites Over Kingston, a festival celebrating spring. As "Peter Pan Penny" she spent the day at the center of a crowd of children, organizing displays and teaching flying lessons. Kites can be both thrilling and demanding, she said.

"It's physically and mentally challenging," Lingenfelter said. "You have control, you're flying... it can be power or it can be heavenly."

Kites, vendors and music drew nearly to 200 people to Mike Wallace Park, event organizers from Kingston Windermere Real Estate estimated. Rain clouds stayed at bay and a stiff breeze blew in from from Puget Sound. Prizes were given in various categories and a kite parade was held, but the heart of the event was the chaotic free flying on the lawn. Children crisscrossed the park grounds towing miniature kites while another flock of colorful, winged contraptions soared hundreds of feet overhead.

It wasn't just kids enjoying the breezy event. Scott Brumme, 34, took a turn piloting a four-string Revolution kite after watching a few of Lingenfelter's lessons. Under her tutelage he launched the kite skyward and worked vigorously to control its spiraling flight.

"This is a lot of work right here," Brumme said after a few wild nose dives.

Brumme headed off to rejoin his family but Lingenfelter kept giving lessons long after the festival had officially ended.

Organizers said Kites Over Kingston was a decided success.

"Kites and kids and families, that's what this is all about," Linda Henry of Windermere said.

Photos by Tad Sooter

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