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Kite Fest Aims High in Dayton as Civic Club Returns to Action

Go fly a kite!

In Dayton, a new event aims high to bring families to Gil Lynn Park for a day of fun, food, and flying.

"My goal when I took over the Dayton Civic Club was to try to incorporate as many groups in the city as I could get to join in," said Tammy Cornett, chair of the Dayton Civic Club, an organization that had been inactive for a few years until reincorporated by Mayor Virgil Boruske earlier this year. "The Civic Club was only responsible for Christmas and Easter and that merged with the Main Street Committee for two years, the mayor took it out and made it two separate entities."

Resident and organizer Catherine Hicks approached the Civic Club about producing the Northern Kentucky Kite Festival, set for Saturday, October 10.

"Providing the kids of Dayton an 'uplifting' experience was my hope with helping to create the NKY Kite Festival," Hicks said. "It's something that would be uniquely theirs to be proud of and look forward to."

The first 450 kids will receive a free kite but this first-time event will be about more than that.

A parade along Sixth Avenue starts the festival at noon. Two professional kite teams (PIGS Aloft, from Covington, and 180 Go Team!, of Illinois) are part of the fun. Area mascots like Mr. Red and Gapper from the Cincinnati Reds, Victor E. Viking from Northern Kentucky University, Belle from the Florence Freedom, the Frisch's Big Boy, Wooly Bully from the Cincinnati Rollergirls, Hero the Dog of the SPCA, and Cam the Library Lion from Campbell County Public Libary, and maybe a few more will join in. 

The parade will also feature the Shriners and the Dayton High School marching band. There will also be a silent auction and lots of food from Kate's Catering, Buona Vita, and the Civic Club concession stand. Kids will enjoy the carnival atmosphere with games, a bouncy house, and a balloon launch.

Organizers have worked with Dayton Independent Schools to create an educational component, too. Members of the professional kite teams will work with students about incorporating a study lesson involving the making of kites. Dayton resident and business owner Scott Beseler created posters advertising the event and some are being displayed in Bellevue's Marianne Theater as if promoting a film.

"Already I consider the festival a success although it is still two weeks off," Hicks said. "We had the support and encouragement of the superintendent of Dayton Schools, teachers, business owners, our current mayor, a former mayor, council members, citizens, the City of Bellevue, and many others who recognize and celebrate the spirit of this festival. Almost 200 students have already made their kites this week and seeing them assemble them, focus, help each other, learn, and have fun is the ultimate reward."

That spirit is exactly what Cornett hopes to maintain as chair of the Civic Club.

"Things are going great. I have at least 20 regulars that come to the meetings, helping and participating," Cornett said. "I'm pretty amazed at the amount of time and effort they've given me. The citizens of Dayton, all of this Kite Festival, every single bit of it is funded by private donations by citizens and corporate sponsors. Everybody keeps asking how do you get this, how do you get that, and I just ask. I posted on Facebook that we were looking for donations and I've got all the hamburgers, buns, and hot dogs. All this has been donated.

"It just amazes me how much the citizens of Dayton step up to the plate when you ask."

Cornett hopes that the enthusiasm continues through the Kite Festival and on to the next round of holiday fun. The next event for the Civic Club is Christmas. 

"I feel there is so much to offer in this city and not everyone takes advantage of it and I'd like for them to join in and see what's possible," Cornett said. "It's good to get it out there that this is not a bad place and it's a really good community for people to get involved and to bring people back together."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher