Kites & Cars. What does Bullhead City, Arizona on the Colorado River and Detroit, Michigan have in common? Kites!

In Bullhead City, Tumbleweeds and Tarantulas is your one stop shop for kites and kite supplies. And on July 10, kites take to the sky over Detroits historic and picturesque Belle Isle.

The Detroit Kite Festival on Cricket Field is a free, family event that will be enjoyed by children of all ages. The only cost, aside from travel to Detroit, is a Recreation Passport to access the island. They are availabe through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or upon entry into the park.

Organizers are encouraging atttendance by offering free kites. On the event website it is noted that, “We will have as many kites as possible for you to fly, but please bring your own if you have one!” And, of course, if you visit Tumbleweeds and Tarantulas before making the trip, you will have a kite or kites, and all the supplies you need.

Belle Isle in the Detroit River is ideally suited for a family friendly kite festival. Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island park with an array of historic, environmental, and cultural landmarks treasured by Detroit residents for generations. The park includes three lakes, acres of forests and amazing views of the Detroit and Windsor skyline. It is also home to the Belle Isle Aquarium,  Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center,  and the James Scott Memorial Fountain.

In nearby Dearborn, at the living time capsule that is Greenfield Village, there is a landmark that every kite enthusiast shoould visit. The Greenfield Village complex was the brainchild of Henry Ford. But it was brought to life with assistance from Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, Orville Wright and other leading pioneer industrialist’s.

They collected historic buildings from throughout the country and Europe. They were then reassembled as a village where the world that they were transforming could be preserved. Counted amoung the buildings collected and preserved were the Wright brothers’ home and cycle shop. The buildings were relocated from Dayton, Ohio, and added to the museum complex in 1937.

Wilbur and Orville Wright pioneered development of the airplane making their first flight in 1903. They began their areonautical studies with kites. Copius notes were kept about birds in flight. These studies were then applied to the flying of kites.

They then became fascinated with the work of Lawrence Hargrave who was developiing box kites in Australia for use in weather studies. The Wright borthers ordered a Hargrave box kite, and began devloping principles referenced as wing-warping lateral control. They expanded their studies by flying a Hargrave kite at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Kites & Cars. Kites shared with fellow enthusiasts. Road trips. Road trips with a bit of history added to the mix of vintage diners, ethnic foods, and scenic attractions that make them meorable. That is the essence of a perfect way to spend the summer.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America