Page 102 July 30, 2021 DAN’S PAPERS danspapers.com
Dan’s Papers Kite Fly Returns Aug. 8
BY DAN RATTINER
The Dan’s Papers Kite Fly
is coming. You’ll find it
from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
on the beach at Sagaponack
on Sunday, August 8.
It’s easy to get to. Just
head south on Sagg Main
from the post office and look
up in the sky off in the distance in
front of you. Hundreds of kites will be
up there already because some of the
folks come a little early and like to get
a head start. Head for the kites.
Up closer, you should be able to follow
the kite strings down if the sun
is shining a certain way. The strings
lead to just beyond the dunes and to
the beach itself. There’s stuff going
on there. It’s the 43rd running of the
annual Dan’s Papers Kite Fly from at
Sagg Main Beach. And you and your
family are invited to join. No charge.
What’s the draw? Twelve prizes
will be awarded: highest flying, most
newsworthy, most colorful, smallest,
scariest, funniest, kite with the longest
tail, oldest kite flier, most patriotic,
most beautiful, best homemade
kite, and if you’ve read this far, you
know you’d better get started. You and
your kids will need string, glue, balsa
wood, paints and a whole lot of other
things to make an original kite (that
Registration? Nope! Just park, walk
out to the beach and get your kite
up — a specially homemade one or a
store-bought one. (The homemade
ones have a better shot at a prize).
But don’t get me wrong. Storebought
kites can look pretty good,
too. And part of the thrill of this event
is to join a great herd in the sky for a
little while. (It feels good.)
Kite judging begins with the blowing
of a bullhorn from flight command
(two banquet tables side by side
on the beach with employees of Dan’s
Papers giving everybody who shows
up some kind of gift.) And it ends with
the second blowing of the bullhorn
announcing the end of judging.
In the interim, everyone will be entertained
by Jim Turner and his bluegrass
band, people face painting all
the kids and various other characters.
Anyone out there know of a magician
with a black cape and cane who’d like
to be part of this?
Anyway, winners are tapped on the
shoulder at the end and told to come
to flight command for the prize or a
certificate to take to merchants who
are offering the prizes.
And the decisions of the judges are
final. These are highly trained, specially
selected individuals with master’s
degrees and Ph.D.s in kite judging.
Wearing the same beach garb
that the kite fliers themselves wear,
they wander among the entrants unnoticed
for 45 minutes looking for
who’s at the end of the string so they
can tap them on the shoulder when
the judging ends. Let them do their
Between the sea spray, the sand, the
surf and the sun, it will be a wonderful
* * *
Here’s a bit of history about how
the Dan’s Papers Kite Fly came to be.
In 1978, you needed a sticker to park
at the beach. E very town and village
had stickers so cars could be easily
noticed. There were red ones for certain
municipalities and blue ones for
another, pink ones for a village beach
and tan ones for another. Each sticker
cost money. And there were certain
beaches that were now off limits to
people not from that village or town. It
tended to drive people crazy because
before this time you were welcome to
park anywhere you wanted for free.
There was, however, one beach
where no stickers were required. It
was Peters Pond Beach in Sagaponack
and because there was a dispute about
the ownership, a potholed, rutted-dirt
Peters Pond Road went straight down
to the beach and if you took it, nobody
would bother you.
Because of this, we thought it a
perfect spot to invite everybody free
of charge to an event with no restrictions
and no admission fees, just like
before. Thus the Kite Fly.
About 10 years into the annual
event however, on Kite Fly day, we
all discovered a huge pond of water
covering Peters Pond Road. You had
to park before reaching the pond and
wade through knee-deep water holding
a kite over your head. Someone
asked me what had happened and I
had the answer. Part of the ownership
problem was the fact that Peters Pond
was on the map. And some years it
would actually show up. This was one
The following year, the Town of
Southampton kindly offered us Sagg
Main Beach just a half a mile away for
the Kite Fly. They waived the parking
regulations if we’d come after 5, which
we did. And that’s where we are now.
At the Kite Fly, even to this day,
people dragging a kid come up to our
flight command table at Sagg Main to
tell us that when they were little, their
father took them to the Kite Fly. We’ve
even had grandparents say that about
the full three generations.
For several years, an inflatable raft
flotilla held their event in the ocean
beyond the breakers at the same time
we had the Kite Fly. You’d see inflatable
snakes, crabs, octopuses and
blow-up sharks in the water as we
took our kites up.
Another year we had kids on horses
riding bareback come up to the back
of the dune to look us over for a while.
On another occasion, we had a reenactment
with white horses on the
beach, presented by a national wine
distributor whose white Chardonnay
was served to a friar at an inn in Italy
as he arrived on horseback to spend
the night after a special dinner where
the wine was served. The friar on one
horse wore a robe and a woman riding
sidesaddle on another horse wore
a gown. They rode to the water’s edge
to note that they had arrived — in Italian.
Another year we had a man with
leather gloves demonstrate fighting
kites which he sent up together.
They’d swoop and make crazy turns
and the demonstration was accompanied
by the narration he gave over a
EAST END LIVING