Great Lakes Kite Festival -Grand Haven, Michigan

Top kite festivals in the USA Featuring everything from a night fly on the beach to an indoor event, the Great Lakes Kite Festival features a number of the best kite flyers (individuals and teams) as well as their giant kites, and kite boarding competitions, a night fly with illuminated kites, and the world’s Largest Outdoor Kite Store with the best in new kite flying gear and more.

The seagulls used to have the Grand Haven beach just about to themselves until the Memorial Weekend crowd arrived to kick off summer. But in 1989 that changed as a different type of “bird” took to the skies, at first on Mother’s Day weekend and then settling on the weekend before Memorial Weekend.

Bob and Steve Negen had opened the Mackinaw Kite Co. in Mackinaw City just 8 years before and were still newcomers to Grand Haven, having added a shop there in 1986. But that didn’t stop them from bringing the fun outside the store and onto the beach for all to enjoy. The Great Lakes Stunt Kite Championships was a nationally-recognized competition that attracted kite teams from all over the country, and later the world, as they competed for titles in categories such as “Team Ballet”, “Team Precision”, “Individual Ballet”, “Individual Precision” and “Innovative”.

Eric Wolff competing at the Great Lakes Stunt Kite Championships
A few curious onlookers braved the cool lake shore weather to see the unusual spectacle that was kites dancing to music, but the first event was attended mainly by kitefliers and their families. A registration fee for competitors helped offset the competition’s expenses, but really it was done as a labor of love by Bob and Steve for the sport. Steve even captained a team of his own, the “Roaring Flamingos”.

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