On Saturday May 17, you can tell Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents to go fly a kite – literally.
For the fourth straight year, parents from P.S. 132 (320 Manhattan Avenue) will host a kite festival in McCarren Park, located at Nassau Avenue and Bayard, Leonard and North 12th streets, featuring a dazzling array of colorful kites made by the parents themselves.
Last year, approximately 1,000 people attended the event. This year, the festival will run from noon to 5 p.m.
The festival coincides with the “It’s My Park Day,” a massive citywide volunteer day dedicated to cleaning up parks.
In addition to the kites, the event will feature performances by some talented local bands, including the legendary I.S. 318 Marching Band, the less traditional Hungry March Band, and Bubble do Beatles, known for their creative Beatles re-makes.
In between sets, young dancers from Studio Metro Dance and Movement will perform, along with future black-belts from the Greenpoint Shotokan Karate school will perform.
The festival will also include arts and crafts-making stations run by parents and teachers. Some hand-made arts and crafts will be available for sale.
Concessions will also be available.
The festival originated four years ago to showcase kite-making skills parents learned in workshops paid for by a grant from Parents As Art Partners, an organization that seeks to supplement under-funded public school art programs by getting parents involved in the arts.
Four years ago, around 87 parents availed themselves of the grant and attended the weekend workshops. The next year, that number had jumped up to 240.
The school continues to receive the $3,000 annual grant, but the focus has shifted from kite making to other art forms. Nevertheless, PS 132 features a large population of expert kite-makers whose work will be displayed on Saturday.
Aside from the creative aesthetic designs, the kites are very user-friendly, according to Leslye Leaness, a P.S. 132 parent who helped coordinate the festival.
“These are easy kites,” Leaness said. “Really all you have to do is run with them.”
Leaness said the festival engages the entire community in a fun, family activity.
“All types of people and ethnic groups come to this thing. Who doesn’t like kites?” she said.
She added that the festival is a good way to promote the public schools in a neighborhood in which many parents send their children to private schools out of the neighborhood.
“A lot of the artists in the neighborhood haven’t been sending their kids to neighborhood schools. This shows them that you can send them to neighborhood schools,” she said.
“I send my kids to the school down the block, and that’s a great thing.”
In case of rain, the 4th annual Williamsburg Kite Festival will be held on June 8 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call PS 132 at 718-599-7301.