Mike and Susan Castor (photo provided with news release)
a news release of Michigan DNR
It's the end of a high-flying era at two west Michigan state parks. After 17 years at Mears State Park and 12 years at Ludington State Park, Air Fun Kites of Pentwater, Mich., offered its final "Kite Night" Aug. 4 at Ludington State Park. Mike and Susan Castor, owners of Air Fun Kites, began the program in 1997, helping campers of all ages to build and fly their own kites on the shore of Lake Michigan.
Since the program began, the Castors provided free materials and instruction for visitors to make a total of 17,866 kites. The couple is now entering retirement, but their Kite Nights at the parks have left many campers and park staff with fond memories.
"Mike and Sue have given generations of families a wonderful gift of happiness and memories through kitemaking and flying," said Allan Wernette, interpreter at Ludington State Park. "Our staff and visitors will certainly miss their generosity and love for making children happy - ages 3 to 103. The Castors helped to give Ludington State Park its outstanding reputation as one of Michigan's favorite state parks."
In 2014, each park hosted four Kite Nights, with a total of 715 participants. The last program of the season brought in the highest participation this year, with 141 kites made during one Kite Night.
"Air Fun Kites is a family business that has changed the lives of a lot of people," Mears State Park Explorer Guide Clayton Breiler said. "I will forever have the lyrics of 'Let's Go Fly a Kite' in my head, thanks to Kite Nights."
Jim Gallie, supervisor at Ludington State Park, agreed the Castors have had a lasting impact on park visitors.
"I've had the opportunity to see Mike and Susan in action for the past 10 years while managing at both Mears and Ludington state parks," Gallie said. "They are truly special people. They've shared their love for kites and the Lake Michigan shoreline breezes that power them with thousands of kids and parents. They helped make camping at Mears and Ludington a special experience for these families. We're going to miss working with them, but wish them a happy retirement."
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