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Issue 12 (Nov/Dec 1999): Kites Over Burlington

report burlington kite festival

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#1 Phil Broder

Phil Broder


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Posted 01 December 1999 - 04:00 AM

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Sure, Kites Over Burlington could've been just another kite festival, with a bunch of people competing in the same old events for trophies. Except for a pair of slightly twisted, totally offbeat new events: the Muddy Mississippi Mystery Ballet, and the Quad Line Obstacle Challenge.

In the M3B, thirteen competitors flew the same Sidewinder, donated by Skyburner Kites, with the winner taking home the kite and a Wind Wizards gift certificate. None of them knew what music they would get until the PLAY button was pushed. Veteran Ron Lindner did a little soft shoe dancing as he flew to James Brown's "I Feel Good." John Cosby hammed it up to "Time Warp."
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Eventual winner Steve Isenhower had to "Walk Like An Egyptian." But the big surprise of the afternoon, the one that had everyone grabbing for cameras, was the thirteenth and final flyer: David "I Wrote the Book On Stunt Kites" Gomberg. Yup, Dave put down his single line kites (earlier in the day, a giant trilobite had broken its anchor and landed a quarter mile away in a cornfield) and flew ballet. And what a ballet it was! He flew TWO Sidewinders, hooking the lines onto his belt buckle, and even tried a 360 as the wind died. Though he finished last in the standings, he was first in our hearts.

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The next day brought the inaugural running of the Quad Line Obstacle Challenge. With the clock ticking, flyers had to maneuver their kites over a pair of hurdles (touching the ground after each), then under a limbo bar. Next they had to knock a cup off the top of a 20' banner pole. Then came the Lee Sedgwick Memorial Bear Drop, where a teddy bear was hooked to the bridles and dropped into a washtub (every competitor missed the tub, earning 10 second penalties). Finally, in what proved to be the toughest obstacle, the kite had to knock a ball into a goal. Times ranged as high as 4 minutes, but Nick Piacenza demonstrated precision control and finished the course in 1:20, just 7 seconds ahead of Greg Schreiber. Nick won a new 1.5 SLE, donated by Revolution Kites.

Kites Over Burlington was a first-time event, but still drew two dozen stunt kite competitors, four teams, lots of single line flyers, and over 1500 paying spectators. The kite games were clearly the crowd's favorites; if you're a festival organizer, consider having some fun events mixed in with the competition. Y2KOB will launch September 16-17, 2000, at the Burlington RecPlex.

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Phil Broder

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