Winds ground hot air balloons, so kites take to the skies at Tulsa Balloon Festival | Homepagelatest

Although the rain held off, nearby storms and gusting winds Saturday kept hot air balloons grounded at the Tulsa Balloon Festival.

But the wind couldn’t stop the carnival, and it only made the Tulsa Wind Riders kites fly higher.

Jason McCaleb and Larry Stiles wasted no time launching a pair of kites before most people woke up, sending up Stiles’ 50-foot-long spinning windsock and McCaleb’s Macaw parrot kite.

Too much wind poses a risk to balloons because gusts can potentially blow the balloon canopy into the flame, risking the canopy and the pilot’s safety.

With no rain coming and no balloons in the way, McCaleb and Stiles tightened up the lines on their kites and settled in for a day of flying. Stiles, the Tulsa Wind Riders’ president, said though the breeze was enough to stop the balloons, light winds are perfect for kites.

“You do not need that much wind to fly kites,” Stiles said. “Most people think when it’s really windy, that’s a good day to fly. You only need 10 to 12 miles per hour, that’s about it.

“Of course, the balloonists, they like it as light as possible. Even we don’t need 20 miles per hour; that’s when you start breaking stuff.”

After lunch, the carnival fired up its rides and vendors started selling their wares. Tulsa County Helicopters also offered $35 rides to fly around the area for a bird’s-eye view of the festival and the kites.

David and Sarah Scoggins drove their two sons from Cushing to see the hot air balloons. Although Austin, 3, and Carson, 6, both wanted to see the balloons, going on every ride they were tall enough for and eating cherry snow cones were fun and tasty alternatives.

Scoggins said the family had a blast for their first trip to the balloon festival on Father’s Day weekend.

“So far it’s been pretty good; there’s a lot of rides here for the…

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