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The Lookout | March 9, 2021

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Kites at great heights fly over LCC

Kites at great heights fly over LCC
The Lookout

By Aaron Emerson
Editor in Chief

If you have traveled along the west side of Adado Riverfront Park, right across from LCC’s Gannon Building, you have probably noticed some kites in the air at some point.

On nice days, usually in the afternoon, James Ellsworth and Kenneth McDuffey fly several kites in the park.

It all started in 2009, when Ellsworth began flying kites over the Lansing City Market. A few years later when apartment buildings were constructed next to the market, Ellsworth had to move his hobby to the park.

Ellsworth, who is retired and has lived in Lansing his whole life, said he got the idea while looking for a way to get outside of his apartment.

“I didn’t want to stay at home and just get fat,” Ellsworth joked. “I wanted to find something that would get me outside to enjoy the day and weather.”

McDuffey, also a Lansing resident, is Ellsworth’s neighbor and friend. When he saw Ellsworth flying a kite, he also thought it was a perfect way to enjoy life outside.

“It’s so fun,” McDuffey said. “It reminds me of being a kid. I really never even thought about flying kites until I moved in next to James and would look out the window and see him flying his kites over the city market.”

All of the kites are purchased and owned by Ellsworth. He said he has seven kites that he rotates, including his newest airplane model kite that cost him over $200.

The highest he has ever flown a kite was over 1,200 feet in the air. Most of his kites fly roughly 300 to 500 feet high, he said.

Since he flies almost every day, he has had some interesting and bizarre incidents.

“I have had several kites get stuck in trees and different places,” Ellsworth said. “But one day I got a kite stuck in the Lugnuts’ stadium.”

Though their hobby does give them an outlet to have fun and get outside, they don’t just fly kites for themselves.

“I do it to put a smile on people’s faces,” said Ellsworth, who is well aware he is known by many LCC students and faculty. “If I can do this and brighten someone’s day, then I am happy. I am glad to be able to make a student’s day.”

Both men said they hope to find some new people to fly with. They said any LCC student or faculty member is welcome to come out and fly kites with them.

“People should come try this out,” McDuffey said. “I would love for more people to come out with us. … “I call it battling Mother Nature. I hope more will come out and fly with us.”