The idea came on a breezy day at North Salt Lake's Legacy Park.
North Salt Lake Councilman Matt Jensen was there with his children flying kites, his thoughts wandering as he watched the kites bob and weave overhead.
He thought about the annual Festival de Chiringas he'd seen while on an LDS Church service mission in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He thought about North Salt Lake's wonderful parks and how every spring the city experiences a pretty consistent wind.
Why not? decided Jensen, who oversees economic development and serves on NSL Live, which organizes community activities.
And so was born North Salt Lake's Kite Festival, a two-week extravaganza a hedge against fickle winds that will kick off on March 30 during the Easter Egg Dash at Hatch Park. The easter egg hunt begins at 10 a.m.
The North Salt Lake Youth City Council will hand out 500 kites to children during the hunt. Jensen figures kids will pick up their kites at the end of the event, go home and eat all their candy and then "come back in the afternoon and fly kites."
Jensen, a chemical engineer at Apco Inc. who has lived in North Salt Lake since 2005, ordered the kites through a local distributor, making sure to select a "spattering" of designs sure to please both boys and girls.
"The next question was how to get participation and encourage people to fly kites and visit parks in the city," he said of the city that has numerous pocket parks and eight large parks.
One solution: The council has asked the city's fire fighters and police officers to hand out candy and local business coupons to children they see flying kites during the festival.
"During that two-week period, we will be on the lookout for kids flying kites in our city," Jensen said, which he hopes will leave them "wide-eyed and excited, because it's going to be a positive experience."
"That kind of stuff leaves a lasting impression…and makes people feel good about their cities and communities," he added.
The ultimate goal, Jensen said, is to foster a sense of community and provide an opportunity for good old-fashioned family fun a chance to get kids outdoors and away from their computers, televisions and gaming screens.
The festival will conclude on April 13 with a mid-day fly-in featuring professional kite pilots and enthusiasts and their "fancy" kites at Tunnel Springs Park, a new park at the intersection of Parkway Drive and Eagle Point Drive, near the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
"I hope people driving through North Salt Lake [during the festival] will see people flying kites," he said.
Go fly a kite!
Here is a list of city parks in North Salt Lake:
Deer Hollow Park • 840 E. Eaglewood Drive
Fox Hollow Park • 655 N. Fox Hollow Drive
Hatch Park • 50 W. Center St.
Legacy Park • 1120 W. 1100 North
Mathis Park • 800 N. 400 East
Palmquist Park • 350 E. Center St.
Wild Rose Trailhead Park • 650 E. Skycrest Lane
Tunnel Springs Park • intersection of Parkway and Eagle Point drives