Lynch Canyon kite festival blows away people’s expectations

[caption id="attachment_1576" align="alignnone" width="640"]Kites fly high in the air during the Lynch Canyon kite festival in this photo by Instagram user @coolisjade Kites fly high in the air during the Lynch Canyon kite festival in this photo by Instagram user @coolisjade[/caption]

(This article was originally published in the Fairfield Daily Republic on April 14, 2015)

By Bill Hicks
Fairfield Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — There was a time when ‘go fly a kite’ was taken as an insult. For organizers of the Solano Land Trust Kite Festival, the suggestion is starting to catch on as a serious statement of how to discover a hidden gem in Solano County.

In its seventh year at Lynch Canyon, the festival continues as a way to recognize the event’s creator, Mike Rydjord. Rydjord, a Lynch Canyon volunteer when the park first opened, was a pilot and kite enthusiast.

He helped start the kite festival as a way to share his love of all things aerodynamic, as well as his love of the outdoors. Lynch Canyon, located between Fairfield and Vallejo, seemed the perfect fit, with wide open spaces and plentiful breezes coming in off the bay.

Rydjord died two years ago and Solano Land Trust kept the festival going as a way to honor his memory. In the years since its inception, the kite festival, true to its name, has taken off.

“It keeps getting bigger and bigger each year,” said Solano Land Trust Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Natalie DuMont. “It’s my favorite event because it brings together so many different people from the community,” she said.

This year, the kite festival had topped attendance tallies from previous years. The event had drawn more than 400 people just two hours in, with more cars streaming through the front gate each minute.

Many of the festival patrons came to fly kites of all shapes, sizes and colors. Some were able to buy or borrow kites from Solano Land Trust volunteers and many others were perfectly content to pull up a camp chair, enjoy the rolling green hills, a few puffs of clouds and take in the colorful spectacle.

Some others used the opportunity to have some fun while applying some newly acquired knowledge.

Kelly Chapman, a physics teacher at Armijo High School, accompanied some of his students to the kite festival. The students were flying kites they made themselves to better understand wind patterns.

“We’re learning about how the wind is created, like the Delta Breeze, which we live in,” Chapman said. Luckily for Chapman and his students, the festival weather conditions were ideal, with warm but not hot temperatures and breezy but not blustery winds.

“We thought it would be cool to get the kids out here in the open space. It was just such a great opportunity to stimulate their enthusiasm,” Chapman said.

Most of the students, to their surprise, found themselves blown away by the experience.

Some left the festival momentarily and returned with friends and family members. Others were a little amazed that something as simple as the wind could be so enjoyable.

“I think it’s something most teenagers wouldn’t think would be very fun,” said Armijo freshman Rondavia Poydras.

Poydras and fellow freshman Carolyn O’Neill were surprised to find their homemade kite not only flew but flew remarkably well.

“We always think negatively about the things we build and then they end up working,” Poydras said.

“It’s gone really high, which is what we wanted,” said O’Neill. “We’re proud of it.”

The experience certainly altered their perceptions of what the festival might hold.

“If you asked the typical high schooler if they wanted to go to a kite festival, they’d say, ‘What? Do you want to go to the movies instead?’ ” O’Neill said.

“It’s been really fun,” Poydras said. “I’m glad we came out.”

Reach Bill Hicks at 427-6958 or