NORTH SALT LAKE -- An event that usually lasts a couple minutes turned into a much longer affair Saturday, when North Salt Lake combined the annual Easter egg hunt with its first kite festival.
Once the kids were finished collecting eggs, they received a free kite from city council members. The 500 kites were purchased using donations from local businesses.
The fields at the park filled up quickly with families putting together their new toy. The wind was just right, and within minutes more than two dozen kites were floating in the air, accompanied by a lot of laughter and smiles, shouts to run faster so kites could get enough lift and careful maneuvering to make sure kite strings didn't get intertwined.
It was exactly what city Councilman Matt Jensen had in mind when he suggested the activity earlier this year. While flying kites with his wife and kids at a local park, he started to wonder how he could encourage the community to participate in the activity.
"One of the roles of city government is to provide community closeness, so we decided to hold a kite festival to tie our community together," said Jensen.
"Usually this event is over in 90 seconds, but now we have 100 people staying and flying their kites as families and enjoying the time together."
The kite festival runs for the next two weeks. Anyone "caught" flying a kite by city council members or law enforcement officers will receive a treat and gift certificates from area businesses.
Officer Matt Robbins began handing out the rewards as soon as he saw people in the park flying their kites.
"Everybody's so used to seeing us in bad times, which is why I got into this because we get to interact with people in a positive way," said Robbins.
Dustin Wiberg, of North Salt Lake, was helping his four kids fly their kites, when they were "caught" and received several gift certificates.
"I've never gotten a reward for flying a kite," said Wiberg. "That's a fun incentive to be out here enjoying the spring."
The Harris family of North Salt Lake didn't have time to fly their kites Saturday, but they are looking forward to flying them as a family in the coming week.
"I've never lived in a place that had a kite tradition," said Nataly Harris, who was at the event with her husband and five kids. "Now that we have the kites, it is definitely something we'll add to our outdoor activities."
Her 8-year-old daughter was anxious to fly her kite soon.
"I am excited to fly my kite with my family because they make me happy, and we can see how high the kites can go and how long they can stay in the air," said Diana Harris.