When it comes to serious flying, forget the detailed instructions and fancy packaging, thank you. Tauni Kinser prefers garbage bags and Grandma's nylons.
The 12-year-old kite enthusiast, one of 55 entrants in the fourth annual Great Kite Flight at Sugarhouse Park Saturday, displayed a flash of good old American ingenuity with her entry: a transparent plastic garbage sack, decorated with crayons and stretched meticulously over a pair of cross sticks.And the pantyhose? The kite's tail, of course.
Tauni made the kite herself, "with just a little help from Grandpa."
Grandma maintains the idea came from observing nature. "You see those plastic bags flying away in the wind all the time. Might as well put them to use," she said with a wink.
Hundreds of spring-hungry residents turned out to picnic and lounge Saturday, necks craning skyward to find every color of the rainbow dancing in different shapes and sizes across the gray horizon.
The kiters themselves offered plenty of viewing variety. One woman brought more than one pair of eyes back to earth as she and her three-foot pet snake - forked tongue flashing - strolled leisurely through the crowd.
Some made the event a family affair.
The Sadler kids, obviously busy for the past week at their Magna home, proudly displayed their homemade kites for a reporter, while Dad took command of the family movie camera. Six-year old Katie's kite proudly displayed a photocopy of her birth certificate. Her 7-year-old brother, Ben, won the contest's Silver Kite division with his professional-looking foil creation.
Brother Adam, 13 - not about to be outdone - won a prize for having the biggest kite in the contest. And had there been a prize for the longest creation, 14-year-old David most certainly would have walked away with it. Jenny, 11, said she was just excited to be a part of the fun.
Not far away, the Kinder family hovered over all seven of their kites - massive, professional creations, many of them purchased as Christmas gifts from a specialty shop in Oregon.
"My husband is involved in softball tournaments in that area each year, and they do a lot of kite-flying up around the Columbia River," explained Paula Kinder. "So we take the boys (10-year-old J.J. and 12-year-old Zach) and the kites, go down the coast and fly them as a family." It was their second year at the Great Kite Flight, but "Salt Lake winds are just not strong or consistent enough to keep these things up for long," she said.
Even so, J.J. walked away with a prize for the most colorful kite.
The contest - sponsored by Benihana, The Air Apparent in Trolley Square and the Salt Lake City and County Parks and Recreation divisions - offered prizes in several categories.
Other winners were: Kristen Lipp, youngest kiter; James Case, oldest kiter and most unique kite; Alex Gonzales, smallest kite; Ahmad Attaie, highest kite (3,000 feet); and Adair Desantis, best crash.