ST. GEORGE – The song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from “Mary Poppins” comes to mind when thinking about the Dixie Power Kite Festival, held Saturday at SunRiver St. George. Kites with colorful designs of pandas, sharks, butterflies and many more lit up the skies over the retirement community.
“We have got the wonderful championship golf course. Everybody has been gracious enough to hold off all business today to support the Washington County School District and the kite festival,” SunRiver representative Justin Kailing said.
The festival, which celebrates student reading, is returning for its 15th year.
“Students have a reading chart that they receive in January. They have to read for a certain number of minutes per week, based on what grade they are in,” said Diane Tyler, secretary of the Washington County School District Foundation.“If they complete all of their reading, they can bring their chart here and turn it in to get either a book or a kite.”
Students who did not complete their reading goals, or aren’t old enough to be in school, could still come to the festival and purchase their own kites to fly.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
“This year, we are going to be raising about $40,000 to support the Washington County School District Foundation,” event director Monty Thurber said. “We have been planning this for the last year. The day after this event is over, we start planning again.”
Since its inception, the festival has raised almost $300,000 to support reading in Washington County schools. Last year, 3,300 kids turned in their reading charts to redeem a book or kite.
All private donations and funding for the school district are organized through the WCSD Foundation. The money raised at the kite festival will be divided among area elementary schools for their literacy programs. The division of the money is based on how many students from each school attend the kite festival and turn in their reading charts.
Of the 300 volunteers that came to help at the festival, 75 were SunRiver residents.
The event started at 10 a.m., but some kids were so excited to redeem their prize that they showed up 45 minutes early. The sunny skies and warm weather of 82 degrees provided a perfect breeze for the kite flyers in the afternoon.
Vendors and games lined the golf course, offering entertainment ranging from food to human-sized hamster balls.
“I always like going around and seeing all the booths and interacting. Being here is just so fun,” said Rilee Waters, a sixth grader at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School who started coming to the festival when she was in kindergarten.
The Dixie Power Kite Festival is an annual event, and is scheduled to return next spring to continue promoting literacy and learning among Washington County students.
- Dixie Power Kite Festival celebrates 15 years promoting reading
- Give the gift of education; Washington County School District Foundation
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