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28th Annual
Great Lakes
Kite Festival

At the State Park in
Grand Haven, Michigan
May 21 & 22, 2016

Save the 2017 dates!
May 20 & 21, 2017

Event Schedule

Saturday, May 21, 2016

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Kite Festival at the Grand Haven State Park beach

Sunday, May 22, 2016

11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Kite Festival at the Grand Haven State Park beach

All events are subject to change due to wind and weather conditions. The giant kites will be in the air all day, wind permitting. Our main demonstration field will have new and different kite performances throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

Great Lakes Kite Festival- May 21 & 22, 2016

Featured Events:

Main Performance Field with incredible kite ballets - Performances running continuously Saturday and Sunday. Watch some of the world's best kite flyers look like the Blue Angels flying to music. Individuals, pairs and teams.

Giant Kites - Kites as big as school buses - yes, you read right - school buses. We will have anywhere from 3-6 kites that are 90 feet long and 40 wide depending on the wind conditions. Kites fly all day Saturday and Sunday.

World's Largest Outdoor Kite Store - See the best in new kite flying gear in our huge on-the-beach kite store. All the latest kites will be available for you to see, and you will even be able to test fly a Rev quadline kite. There will also be a fantastic selection of windsocks and toys being presented by our seriously fun staff. Open Friday afternoon through the close of the event on Sunday.

Kite Demo Field - Try flying a sport kite for free!

Kiteboarding Demonstrations - If the wind is blowing strong enough we will have a few local riders out on the water. Check out our complete kiteboarding school and shop at www.mackiteboarding.com.

Open Flying Field - An open area where everyone has the ability to help us decorate the sky with their own kites.

Great Lakes Kite Fest Featured Events

Some of Our Performers:

Windjammers Kite Team - Celebrating 32 years of filling the skies!
Chicago Fire Kite Team - Multiple time National Champions.
Too Much Fun - This talented quadline team has been flying since 2001.
Blues Bros. - What can we say? Spencer Schubbe and Steve Rothwell are cool, and it shows in their smooth moves.
Fire and Ice - Kathy Brinnehl and Paul Koepke amaze with their dual line routines.
Al Sparling - Giant Octopus and Trilobite.
Darryl Waters - Rizzo the giant Gecko and other large showpieces.
Mark Ledvina - He does the Wisconsin Kiters Club proud with his large kite display.
Lee Sedgwick - World famous kite demonstrator and candy dropper.
Sam and Anne Ritter - The King and Queen of HUGE stacks of Revolutions.
Fred and Donna Taylor - Running of the bols and line laundry & ground show masters, including penguins and the famous "OpticalPile".
Elizabeth Gordon - We welcome Elizabeth back to Center Field with her creative individual ballet routines.
Grant Lovett - His homemade Spikey Balls and other pieces adorn the south end of the flying field.

Performers- if you know of any updates to this list, please give us a shout. Thanks!

Great Lakes Kite Fest Performers

Great Lakes Kite Festival FAQs


What are the dates for this/next year's festival? I need to make my vacation plans early.
Great Lakes Kite Festival is the weekend before Memorial Weekend each year. Yep, we kick off summer a full week before most people!


What does it cost to attend GLKF?
The event itself is free, and if you're a Michigan resident and have opted for the Recreation Passport with your license plate tag, parking inside the Grand Haven State Park (aka "the beach") is also free. Others will need to buy a day pass to park inside the park. There are also free parking options outside the park for those willing to walk a bit or bike in.

Sam Ritter flying his stack of Revolution kites at the Great Lakes Kite Festival

Is there a detailed schedule of events that shows who is flying when?
Teams and individuals are scheduled as we go depending on whose kites can fly in the current wind conditions, so it's not possible to print any sort of accurate performance schedule ahead of time. However, as we determine the next couple performers coming up, we do try to announce that throughout the day so that you'll know who's next.


When is the best time to come?
Depending on the wind, there will be performances and giant kites in the sky throughout the day. Each team or individual usually performs multiple times over the weekend, so just hang around for a bit and you're bound to catch your favorite. If you have kids, the Candy Drop and Running of the Bols races usually take place around 1-3pm, but again, this depends on the wind.

Running of the Bols at the Great Lakes Kite Festival

Where can I stay at night?
If you make reservations early enough, you can camp onsite in the state park campground. Visit the Grand Haven State Park website for more info. There are also many motels, bed and breakfasts, cottage rentals, and other campgrounds in the area. The Grand Haven Visitors' Bureau and Chamber of Commerce maintain excellent lodging lists. Wherever you choose to stay, we recommend making your reservation early as places do fill up for this event, Grand Haven's second largest after the Coast Guard Festival.


What should I wear to the beach?
While we are often blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures that weekend, keep in mind that the lake can still be chilly and may cool the nearby air, so pack a sweatshirt or jacket just in case. No matter the temperature, remember to apply sunscreen- UV rays pass through the clouds even if the sunshine doesn't!


Do you have a map showing where the festival is in Grand Haven?
Yes! This map shows where the event is held, as well as where to find our two shop locations.

Great Lakes Kite Fest City of Grand Haven map

What's a "demo field"?
Each year we try to have at least one field with a professional kiteflyer who will show you the basics of flying a stunt kite for free. No reservations are needed- just stop by and we'll make sure you get a turn going hands-on with a controllable kite (wind permitting, of course).


What is "Kite Club Row"?
You may notice several colorful banners lining the walkway along the beach. Many of these are set up by the various kite clubs with members in attendance. Although they work hard to decorate the beach and sky, they are friendly folks who are always glad to chat and answer your questions about kites. You may even find a club from your area that you can join.


Can I fly my kite while I'm there?
Everyone is invited to fly their kites on the beach south of the pavilion- just find an open spot and launch! New performers are welcome to apply- just contact us with your information.


Is photography allowed?
Absolutely! You are welcome to shoot all the photos and videos you like. We simply ask that all photographers remain outside field boundaries for their own safety as well as the safety of our fliers, and as a courtesy to others who are also trying to get shots of the action. Forgot your camera or simply want to sit back, relax, and take in the show? We'll have a photographer busy getting shots all weekend and will post the best ones on our Facebook page and photo gallery.

Great Lakes Kite Fest field map

Are the giant kites really as big as a school bus?
Well, some are actually larger...


Will there be merchandise for sale at the event?
Inside the giant tent on the beach you'll find event t-shirts, assorted wind spinners and windsocks, beach toys, and of course a huge selection of kites for all ages and interests. Even if you don't buy, it's worth taking a walk through what is temporarily the world's largest kite store and checking out all the colorful fun.


Can I rent booth space?
Due to state park regulations, we cannot offer vendor space.


Do you have any other kite events during the year?
One Saturday in late January/early February, we host the Reeds Lake Ice Fly with Rose's Restaurant in East Grand Rapids. Bundle up and join us on the frozen lake for some kiteflying fun, then step inside Rose's to warm up with free hot dogs and hot chocolate.
In September, come back to the Grand Haven beach for the King of the Great Lakes Kiteboarding Test Fest. Kiteboarders can try out next year's new gear while spectators enjoy watching the pros perform extreme tricks.


Where can I get more info about the event?
As kite festival time approaches each year, we post details on our Facebook page. You can also find past event photos there. Be sure to "like" us! You can also sign up for our newsletter for event info and coupons.


Still have questions? Contact us.

Al Sparling and his giant octopus kite at the Great Lakes Kite Fest

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