BY TOM BUSSELBERG
ANTELOPE ISLAND — This Labor Day weekend, upwards of 50 kites are expected to fill the skies over Antelope Island.
This year’s Antelope Island Kite Flying and Hot Air Balloon Stampede has commitments for 2 1/2 times more kite-flyers than participated in last year’s event, according to stampede chair Barbara Riddle.
“This is becoming the biggest kite-flying event in the Rocky Mountain region from North Dakota to Arizona,” she said, adding that it is now a well-known event among kite enthusiasts.
The giant iQuad stunt-flying type kites, some as big as hot air balloons, will be among those at the stampede, Riddle said.
The kites will be joined by six balloons and, for the first time ever, seven para gliders, four from Utah and two from Colorado, she said.
Kites were added to the mix several years ago when weather conditions sometimes made it difficult for balloonists to launch.
Angel Hands will also be hosting events Friday night to benefit youngsters with terminal diseases.
This year, the City of Syracuse is hosting an indoor kite-flying event at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30. The free event will take place at the Syracuse Community Center, 1912 W. 1900 South.
On Friday, Aug. 31, balloons will launch at 7 a.m. from the Kaysville Barton Ponds east of I-15. A balloon will again launch from that location Saturday and Sunday morning.
Evening launches Friday and Saturday will occur at about 6:30 p.m., from the island.
Festival hours are 5 p.m. to dark, with fireworks rounding events out at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The festival goes from noon to 9:30 p.m. onSaturday and on Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
Friday evening events willinclude skydivers at 5:15 p.m., professional kite-flying from 5:30 p.m. until dark, kite demonstration and field entertainment at 7 p.m., and musical groups from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Saturday morning will feature the Syracuse Stampede, 5Kand 12K tail run at 8 a.m., with a pre-registration $40 for the 12K and of $30 for the 5K, including park entrance fee.
The race is billed as a professionally-timed, rugged trail run. There are prizes for the top three overall male and female winners and the top three in each age group in each race.both races. Runners start at White Rock Bay. More race information is available at antelopeislandstampede.com.
Other Saturday events include professional kite-flying from noon to dark, a kids tent that will be open at the same time, Chalk I Up colored chalk-beanbag toss at 1 p.m., a pie-eating contest at 3 p.m., a BMX demo and team exhibition at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and music throughout including the “Imagine” Beatles tribute band, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Sunday events include kite flying from noon until dark, a BMX demo team exhibition at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., a pie eating contest at 3 p.m., bands at 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to5 p.m., and a kite presentation at 6 p.m. The Bastard Redheads rock and blues band will close the event with a 6 to 8 p.m. show.