MEDINA — Tyler Rasey defied the drizzle and low temperatures Saturday and tried to fly a kite at the fourth annual Kite Fest in Buckeye Woods Park. After about 10 minutes, he gave up.
“There’s too much rain and not enough wind,” said Rasey, a 16-year-old Medina resident.
The Kite Fest, which recognizes those recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, was mostly a wash out this year. Few of the expected 300-plus enthusiasts showed up because of steady rain.
However, a companion event, the annual 5K Walk/Run for Recovery fundraiser, went on as planned at Buckeye Woods. About 100 runners and walkers participated.
Cindy McQuown — part of a committee that helped organize Saturday’s festivities and a member of the Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery Board of Directors — served as a “sweeper” during the run/walk, making sure everyone stayed on course.
“It’s a whole lot nicer to run in the rain than it is to run in 88 percent-90 percent humidity, which is what I did Monday,” McQuown said. “When the humidity is high, it’s harder to run and it’s harder to run fast.”
Runners donated $30 and walkers donated $20 to Fighting for Alyssa, a nonprofit that works to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction.
After the 5K, Fighting for Alyssa donated $25,000 to several groups, including The LCADA Way, which provides addiction-recovery programs in the Medina County area; Robby’s Voice and Cathy’s House, both Medina addiction-recovery organizations; Community Assessment and Treatment Services, an addiction-recovery center in Cleveland; and the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, one of the Kite Fest organizers.
The Kite Fest takes place in September because the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has designated September as National Recovery Month.
“Kites are a symbol of freedom, and movement from darkness to light, which truly symbolizes recovery,” said Lea Heidman, who with her husband, Brian Malone, founded Fighting for Alyssa in 2015 after their daughter Alyssa died of a heroin overdose.
“Kite Fest is a message of hope, a way to bring people together to fight addictions,” Malone added.
Traditionally, the New Era Kite Club of West Virginia sells kites and hosts kite-building workshops for children at the Kite Fest. The club canceled its appearance this year because of the weather.
However, Medina County Share Cluster, which promotes nonviolent, drug-free living, was on hand to paint faces and craft balloon animals. Also, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. car and K-9 unit were at the fest.
Sponsors of the Kite Fest and 5K included Akron Children’s Hospital, Buehler Food Markets Inc., Medina Dairy Queen, TITLE Boxing Club, The LCADA Way, KeyBank, Huntington, OhioGuidestone and Medina County Share Cluster.