Kite Day – A Zionsville Tradition

May 2017

Writer / Janelle Morrison

Last month, kite flyers celebrated national “Kite Day” and with the efforts of a few community-minded individuals, Kite Day in Zionsville celebrated its sixth annual gathering of kite aficionados and novice flyers of all ages.

The event was held at the Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville -West Club. The sky was painted with the colors and shapes of the various home-made and store-bought kites. The founding members of Kite Day; Tania Roudebush, Gerry Stevenson, and Bill Moore, have been excited to see the family-friendly event grow over the years and continue to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Zionsville (BGCZ).

Roudebush is the owner of Black Dog Books in downtown Zionsville. She remembers living in Massachusetts and observing families flying kites on the hills surrounding her son’s school. After a casual conversation with her friend, Stevenson, the pair devised hosting a day of kite flying in Zionsville but wanted to give it an additional purpose to benefit the community.

Stevenson, a retired financial advisor and “professional” volunteer, discussed the idea with Glenn Sanford, unit director of BGCZ-East Club who promptly connected the duo with Moore. The three quickly organized the first Kite Day that was held at Mulberry Fields in Zionsville. “Gerry and I were sitting here at Black Dog Books, and I was telling him about Kite Day in Massachusetts and how it would be fun to do this in Zionsville. Without hesitation, he said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Roudebush recalled. “He immediately suggested that the event should have a purpose, and that’s when he visited with the Boys and Girls Club, and we connected with Bill.”
Stevenson said that they did not know what to expect the first year but were pleasantly surprised when the event attracted approximately 70 attendees and a positive response.

“It was great to see families bring picnic baskets and let time pass for a little while,” Stevenson said.
“Kite Day creates a sense of coming together as a community and doing something that is outdoors. The kids from the BGCZ make posters to promote the event that go into the stores and businesses throughout the Zionsville Community.”

According to Roudebush, the event continues to grow in attendance. “We’re seeing an average upwards of 200 participants,” she said. “Kite Day is fun to watch, but it’s more fun to fly the kites, and I think it’s a beautiful event. We see a lot of families who are members of the BGCZ attend, but it is open to the entire community, and we see people from all over Zionsville.”

The third member of the founding trio, Bill Moore, art and acting coordinator for BGCZ, brings his boom box and helps with the logistics and collections for the clubs. “I look forward to Kite Day every year,” Moore said enthusiastically. “I call Tania the ‘kite lady’ because she planted the seed and everything has grown from her sharing the idea of organizing Kite Day. I always say that nothing happens until you get excited, and I’m excited for next year’s Kite Day.”

The unit director for the BGCZ-West Club, Sarah Webler, said that the BGCZ-West Club location is a logical place to host the event and looks forward to hosting it again next April.

“It is a great opportunity for the community to see one of the two facilities and our programs that are offered with a membership at the BGCZ,” Webler said. “When we had it at Mulberry Fields, I would go and just thought the event was very cool. So when they approached me and asked if we could host it at the West Club because we have the open space, I was really excited. It brings a lot of people to our club. I think the event is wonderful. It couldn’t be more perfect. Hopefully, we’ll just continue to grow the event. The proceeds go straight to the clubs and help with our programming and our Before and After school programs, sports leagues and summer camps, which are coming up.”

The last Sunday of April is the designated event date for Kite Day in Zionsville. Mark your calendars for next year’s event and look for the banners that are posted along Main Street in advance. Stevenson concluded, “Kite Day is for everybody. We’ve had four generations flying their kites at this event, and that’s pretty amazing. It is not competitive and nobody sits on the bench in kite flying.”