MARSHALL - The temperatures were roasting and the humidity was up, but that didn't stop the people gathered at Independence Park. After all, what's really important for a kite festival is the wind, and there was enough to keep dozens of kites aloft over the park.
Marshall held its Independence Day celebration and Festival of Kites on Wednesday afternoon, with activities stretching into the evening hours and leading up to a fireworks display. There was a crowd of people despite the heat, although many were setting up their lawn chairs in the shade of trees and there was a steady line of kids waiting to take part in the water balloon toss.
"I got wet, on my feet!" said Maddox Foss. Foss and his cousin Henry Bushey had tossed a balloon back and forth to a distance of about 10 feet before the balloon slipped through his fingers. But then the two boys were right back in line again.
Photo by Deb Gau
Anja Baumgarn helped Serena Baumgarn get her kite off the ground during the Festival of Kites and Independence Day celebrations in Marshall on Wednesday evening. In spite of the heat, there was a good crowd gathered at Independence Park.
It wasn't just kids having fun in the park, however. Sometimes it looked like there were as many adults flying kites as children. Sivaraj Marudachalam's kite was soaring far above the rest, partly because he and a group of friends had tied several kite strings together.
They were up to their fourth string as Marudachalam kept unwinding it.
There wasn't a trick to controlling the kite, he said.
"You just go slow," he said.
Stephanie McKee, a member of the Marshall Area Kiwanis who was helping to organize some of the activities Wednesday, said it looked like attendance was gradually picking up as the afternoon went on.
"We have 500 kites. I don't think we've handed out all 500 yet," she said, but they were going pretty quickly. Kiwanis members had hoped to expand the festival a little by offering kids' games, live music and food vendors.
Dawn Arends, who was out in the park with her family and children, said she enjoyed some of the family focus in the celebrations.
"It's nice to be able to stay closer to home. You don't want to stay up too late, with the little ones," she said. "It's definitely a good day for the water balloons, though."