The sun played hide and seek on a recent late Thursday morning at Bill Baggs but there was a steady enough breeze to alight the flight of a simple kite made of recycled former pages from the Islander News.

Barbara and Stan Schwartz, Melissa White, and Justo Rey gathered to further arrange plans for a spring family day on the beach set for Saturday, April 6, the inaugural Islander News Key Biscayne Kite Fest.

A day inspired by the organizers to see spirits soar as families and friends come together to celebrate kite building and flying; followed by build-and-fly demonstrations from the pros.

“Everybody likes to fly a kite,” said Barbara Schwartz.

“And to see kids and grandkids running on the beach, it’s a fun family thing to do.”

The couple was inspired to plan an event together after meeting and connecting with Islander News publisher Justo Rey, both Stan and Justo share a publishing background and became fast friends.

“We were talking about ideas to embrace the community and get the paper more involved,” said Stan.

“I called him and I said I have an idea and he loved it and that was Kitefest. Justo wanted one hundred percent of the proceeds and registration to go to the Chief Press Foundation.”

The Schwartz’s are passionate Key Biscayner philanthropists active with the foundation’s Sister City Initiative and the work they do in tandem with Miami Children’s Initiative.

The couple proceeded to make calls and further expand the circle of support.

The operators of First Service Residential, David Dietzel and Hector Vargas, condominium and apartment managers of Key Biscayne, Brickell Key, and Brickell agreed to underwrite participation for all of the families and kids of the residents they serve.

“They became very involved,” said Stan. “And we have another friend Alvin Blake who has worked with not for profits his entire career and his wife is a teacher and they have been helping plan as well.”

Barbara had a surprise birthday party some years back when she arrived at Grove Isle and her family and friends were awaiting her out by the bay, tables set up with all the accoutrements to make and fly a kite.

The inspired idea for Kitefest came from that treasured memory of friends laughing together, running around on a classic beautiful South Florida day chasing the wind and seeing their spirits soar high with the sun. A day worth repeating on Key Biscayne come April 6th.

For more information, email kitefest@islandernews.com or visit the Islander News' offices at 104 Crandon Blvd., Suite 301

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