Kite Karnival draws about 500

Maj. Rob Chambers is used to flying. After all, he's been a pilot for 15 years and flies Dornier-328 aircraft with the 551st Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base.

CNJ photo: Gabriel Monte

Rilee Caudel, 6, of Clovis helps get a friend's kite airborne Saturday at the ninth annual Kite Karnival at Doc Stewart Park.

And while his 6-year-old son, Elijah Chambers, doesn't have as much experience flying aircraft, he didn't have any trouble performing aerial acrobatics with his navy blue fighter jet on a windy Saturday morning at Doc Stewart Park.

Of course, Elijah's jet was a kite constructed from plastic. So was his 9-year-old brother Micah's green-and-blue jumbo jet.

The Chambers family was among hundreds of kite flyers descending on the park for Saturday's ninth annual Kite Karnival.

Chambers said his family has participated in the event every year for four years.

CNJ photo: Gabriel Monte

Carveth Kramer of Taos steadies one side of a 252-square-foot parafoil he and his friends used for candy drops during the ninth annual Kite Karnival at Doc Stewart Park.

"It's fun to get out with the other folks in the community and come together and have time for kite flying," Chambers said.

Micha Chambers said he had fun flying kites and spending time with his brothers and sisters.

"They're really cool machines," he said of kites.

More than 500 people were out flying kites, playing in bouncy houses or enjoying the day, according to event organizer Paul Hopkins.

He said more than 200 hundred people were already lining up for free kites an hour before the event stared at 10 a.m.

Hopkins, who is also the community center manager for the 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron, said the base hosts the event as a way to give back to the community.

"It makes adults feel like kids again and it makes good memories for the children," he said.

Speaking of memories, in another part of the park, Rilee Caudel, 6, of Clovis was running and squealing in delight as his stealth raider-themed kite flew.

His mother, Candace Caudel, said he was on a mission to find a aircraft-themed kite and fly it.

While it was his first time flying a kite, Rilee said he learned how to fly kites by observing other kite flyers. Candace Caudel said they come to the event every year.

Carveth Kramer of Taos and fellow kite hobbyist Sam Pedregon of Pubelo, Colo., dropped 15 pounds of candy at the event in three sets using a rainbow colored, 225 square feet parafoil, which was as big as one of the bounce castles at the event.

Kramer estimated that the wind blew between 10 mph to 15 mph. He said he has been participated in all but one year.

"And here's hoping for eight more," he said.

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