BRANFORD — If you’ve passed by Colors in the Wind, which opened in late May on Main Street, heard the strains of Mary Poppins’ rousing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” escaping from the festooned storefront, and glanced inside, you’d be forgiven if you believed it was solely a kite shop.
Rainbow-colored parafoils float from the ceiling. Beside them, vibrant Deltas seem poised to flit gracefully in light wind. In the front, dual-line and quad-line box kites, which double as stunning pieces of art, patiently wait to be released skyward to carve figure eights and circles through the air.
Colors in the Wind does offer the widest selection of kites on the Shoreline, according to owner Alfred Minervini, 59, who bought his first kite for 25 cents at Pequot Drugs on the corner of Grand Avenue and East Pearl Street in New Haven and for years ran a kite shop in Salisbury, Mass.
But step inside the brightly lit space and you’ll see that the shop isn’t only for wind enthusiasts. It’s a veritable emporium of thought-provoking, kinetic and inventive kind of gadgets, widgets and doohickeys that add up to classic, unplugged summer entertainment.
There are Waboba beach balls that bounce on the water and change colors once they hit the surf or the pool water, Zoober balls for toddlers in the shape of whales, frogs, and puffer fish, and fetch balls for dogs; flying discs and aerobic rings; and moon balls that bounce to astounding heights.
For backyard amusement, there are space explorer water guns, foam bats and balls, Nerf footballs and badminton sets.
The objective, said Minervini, whose brothers own Minervini’s Pizza in East Haven (Nate) and Wallingford (Kenny), “is just plain summer fun.”
That explains the glow-in-the-dark Crazy Aaron’s thinking putty that comes alive with hypnotic colors, as well as wooden toy robots called Cubebots that can be positioned to hold dozens of poses and challenge the user to fold them back into a perfect cube.
There are also yo-yos, standard ones and those with auto return, and yo-yo balloons, which Minervini will make for free. “It’s something different for a birthday party,” he said.
And that’s not even counting the assortment of patriotic wind spinners, wind twisters, kite mobiles just in from France, and holographic Mylar windsocks that, together with the kites, transform the space into a riot of color.
“Everything here is just so happy,” said Branford’s Shelly Johnson, who stood in line to buy a lively outdoor flag as a housewarming gift for a friend. “And everything is so well-made.”
That’s by design, it seems. “All my years in this business, I’ve always looked at quality, the way something’s constructed, how durable it is,” Minervini said.
“It’s not just the ripstop nylon in the kites. It’s all the kite accessories, the tails, the lines, the spool winders that are guaranteed for life. It’s everything.”
Minervini pointed outside the display window to the glorious early summer Branford day. “We’re so fortunate to live where we do. This shop is about getting people outside to enjoy it.”
Colors in the Wind is on 564 Main St., Branford. 203-481-5483. For more information, visit Colors in the Wind on Facebook