Kites On The Beach started in the 1950s, then the trend became a tsunami. Charles Kuralt summed it up succinctly , “Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”

With the demise of Route 66, and the rise of chain motels and fast food restaurants, the world became generic. With the advent and popularity of social media and video games, even entertainment became coldly impersonal. The declining popularity of golf is but one manifestation.

Surprisingly there is an ancient past time, and sport, that is thriving. Look no further than Tumbleweeds & Tarantulas, the Colorado River Valley’s largest kite store for evidence that the popularity of kite flying is soaring. And if you happen to be in Grand Haven, Michigan in mid May for the Grand Haven Kite Festival, there will be no doubt that kites are as popular as ever.

Kites On The Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan and watch as the sky fills with a staggering array of kites in garish colors and of all types. During previous festivals kites the size of a VW micro bus would dance on the breezes over the lake. Stunt kite fliers from throughout the world performed to choreographed music.

And, of course, you can bring your own kites to fly. Manufacturers will have displays and some will even allow you to “test drive” new kites. A perinnial favorite at the festival is the MACkite tent. Established in 1981, MACkite is a revered Grand Haven landmark. Aside from kites, the story sells an array of toys, skate boards, and kite boards. Their festival tent on the beach will have displays of kite, kite supplies, wind toys and spinners.

The festival is a free event but with a caveat. If you park inside the Grand Haven State Park there will be a fee unless a recreational pass. If you would like more information about this year’s festival information is posted on the Kite Festival of Grand Haven Facebook page. You may also contact organizers via email –

Perhaps the festival scheduled for the weekend of May 16 would be an ideal excuse for a road trip holiday. Grand Haven on Michigan’s west coast is at the center of a diverse array of attractions, state parks, and scenic wonders. The city itself is a vibrant blend of historic sea shore vacation destination and modern city.

Grand Haven is 175 miles north of the eastern terminuus of Route 66 in Chicago. Or you can really make the trip memorable by taking the S.S. Badger, an historic ferry, from Manitowoc, Wisconsin across lake Michigan to Ludington, Michigan, and then driving down the scenic shoreline. This is an adventure not to be forgotten!

Kites On The Beach Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America