How did the Callaway Kite Flight start?
One summer, Connie May and her family were camping at Pressey Park, one of their favorite get-away places north of Oconto, NE. When Connie looked up, she saw a kite in the sky, and considered an event, set in Callaway, that would bring kite fliers and spectators together. Her idea soon became an expanded thought which then became a “wild and crazy idea” segment to the local Chamber Economic Development meetings. Connie contacted the American Kite-fliers Association’s Region VII Director Don Murphy who contacted AKA members such as Scott Skinner and ultimately this once “wild idea” soon became a full-blown attempt to start something new and fun in Callaway, a village of some 600 people in central Nebraska. Connie wrote a grant for state tourism funds to market the event. Chamber and other Callaway citizens stepped up to help, host people in their homes, and stage a fun fly which has grown into a small legend in both tourism and kite flying lore: a crazy combination of volunteers who believe in their small town and want to bring guests here, professional fliers who often are paid to fly at other flies (but not at Callaway where the small budget truly is), and guests from near and far who fly, watch, and simply enjoy the skies full of colors and shapes and designs.
Through all the determination and effort made by Connie May, the Annual Callaway Kite Flight was finally established in 1991. While only a few fliers came that first year, it has grown over the years since.
Today a committee of 5 dedicated volunteers organize and manage the CallawayKite Flight. However, the Kite Flight wouldn’t be possible without the amazing volunteers each year who provide support in getting the Kite Flight site ready, working at the gate, information building and concessions stand, serving as parking aids or Fly Cops and cleaning-up after the event. The Callaway Lions Club and its members have been helping at the Kite Flight since it was first established.
A new t-shirt design each year always includes a windmill (we’re in the Sandhills of Nebraska where cattle and ranches abound), stick figures flying a kite, the words Callaway Kite Flight, and the number of years for the event. The Callaway Kite Flight t-shirt and each year’s special commemorative pin are available during the event and in Callaway businesses prior to Labor Day weekend.