Winter in the Texas Coastal Bend is a kite fliers dream. Well, sometimes it is, other times it can be pretty much like winter in climates considerably higher in latitude. The weatherman gave the 6th annual Great Texas Club Fly what we call “Chamber of Commerce” weather this year. The winds were a little light in the morning, but it was sunny, warm and by the time a few feather banners were placed on “the line” the breezes were brisk enough to launch a few nice kite ensembles.
For those who are not familiar with the annual tradition of assisting the community kicking off of the “Tropical Christmas” season festivities, here is a little history.
At one time the local kite club members here in the Corpus Christi area; Coastal Bend Skypirates; were host to an invitational fun fly where we invited all the other kite clubs in Texas to a January weekend of just plain kite fun, some eats, some libations, and the general tomfoolery which tends to follow such events. In 2006 it was decided to move the date back a bit so it would correspond with the city festivities on the first week end of December. The lighted float parade and fireworks display are still favorite entertainments for when after the kites are packed up on Saturday night. This date change also allowed more relaxed travel plans, further from family events and New Years parties, yet far enough in advance of the event in February down the coast at South Padre Island.
This year’s sixth gathering started as we usually do by meeting at China “A” Super Buffet the traditional Meet & Greet dinner. Those that were late in getting out of town are sorely missed as we do what kite flyers always do; catch up on news, talk about latest sewing projects, tell windy stories, and rat out the antics of those that are not there to defend themselves , right?
Arriving at the Beach Park on Saturday morning, the banner line was soon established by Guy Blatnik, AKA Region 8 Director, and the author. We had members from SPIKE of South Padre [winter crew] early on the ground, followed by a contingent of SHARK from the Houston area, then local Skypirates hosts arrived, and the group just kept filling in. Kite launching was a sporadic activity due to finicky ground winds, some battles were won, others were postponed, and one or two were lost.
We were joined later by some “oldies” of the Surfside Flyers to make a total of twenty four kite enthusiasts, all busy getting things aloft. We continued to add more kites all day and soon the sky was just full of all the usual flying shapes, and a few unusual ones as well. The Flying Pirate Chicken was certainly a favorite, coming all the way from Louisiana. The view from the adjacent highway was indeed impressive.
Winds were strengthening during the afternoon, which is normal here on the coast, and most all kites were stable and “happy” until near sunset. Some folks stuck around for the lighted float parade, others went out to dinner together, some had to “do chores”, and some even hung around for the fireworks display, viewing them from the bird watching stand near Little Bay.
Sunday morning most of the crew met up at the hotel for a group breakfast to say goodbyes to those traveling home the longest, and some to make plans to go and fly again for a while. Winds were light again at first but soon we had a couple of nice displays in the air, different kites from Saturday. Some new items were tried out along with some sport kite action, even a Flexifoil power kite was giving its owner a “workout”. There were the usual folks stopping by to ask what we were doing and where do you get those kites all thorough out the day. The last folks on the field were the Surfside Flyers; they had a nice arch going sporadically as the winds softened towards the later part of the day.
Comments were made by several of the attendees that this was probably the best of the Great Texas Kite Club Fun Fly’s so far, everything just kind of fell in place for us. Plan your flying schedule to be with us next year— always the first Saturday in December. [Plans are in the works for a special event in 2013—stay tuned!!]