Issue 32: Washington State International Festival

Ah… WSIKF! What is there to say about you that hasn’t already been said so many times over…?

The Washington State International Kite Festival (hence “WSIKF”) is the largest festival of it’s kind on the continent, and we’ve been planning to go to WSIKF now for… well, kinda like “Forever!” Actually. Charly and I have been planning this “outing” since way last winter… Not that we haven’t enjoyed all the other festivals and competitions we’ve attended – we have! It’s just that WSIKF is “the BIG one” – one of two that we REALLY have to do…

This WSIKF thing ISN’T your normal, every-day quasi- kite festival, though. This is the whole-hog real McCoy! For the casual kiter, this is a “real interesting experience.” For the hard-core kite-nut, though…this is a week-long, no-holds-barred participation in our favorite sport. No, you gotta keep your clothes on (Kiting IS a family sport!), and be sure to bring plenty of Sun-Screen too! And if you think “Ah, I can do that whole festival in a day” – well you’re dead wrong! Events change hourly, and there’s always something new… so you’d better just get in the middle of it NOW, because “it” won’t be there in a couple of hours. And, at WSIKF, it’s literally impossible to do everything. So, as somebody said… “This ain’t no ‘Sprint’ – it’s a whole ‘Marathon!'” And to really understand what I’m talking about, this is one of those “you have to BE there” events… Yeah – you’re getting a much better idea, now…

So…Charly and I missed Monday and Tuesday… There’s no getting those days back, though. To sum it all up, we missed (and here I’ll quote from the WSIKF program):

Kite Trains, Arches and Multi-line stacks open the week. Join the “engineers” for some fun. A workshop for adults and children with special needs.

Pun Fun, Club Camps, Rok battes! Circaflex Round-up! Run for everyone!

As part of “Monday,” I’d planned to attend the: KITE TRAIN WORKSHOP – Sponsored by the World Kite Museum 1:00p.m. Kite making tent so you too may become a kite train engineer, the World Kite Museum sponsors making a kite train of three Invader kites, one red, one blue, and one yellow. The cost is $6.00.

As part of “Tuesday,” I was on the docket for: Terrific Tuesday Top Team: This competition becomes more popular every year. But we have a new twist this year: teams are limited to 10 members. Points are still earned for each of the activities on Tuesday’s schedule. Each entrant earns points for participating, in addition to the points earned for winning or placing in individual and team events. Clubs, family groups – any group of people who choose to “bond” for the day – may register to accumulate points throughout the day. The winner will earn the right to fly the “Top Team” banner until next year. The winner will be announced at noon on Wednesday.

Yeah, I was supposed to participate. Yeah, I heard about my absence. No, the Washington Kitefliers Association team did just fine without me, and actually won the competition. Yeah – I still heard about it!

So that’s part of what we missed! What’s unsaid in the “program, is that Monday, and to some extent Tuesday, are the meet-and-greet days, when activities are a little less intense and you have a chance to say “Hi” to all those wonderful folks in the world of kiting. Renew friendship with those you know, and begin to make some new ones too… I’m sorry I missed that part. Still, it couldn’t be helped… So where was I? Oh, yeah… back to geezer’s festival travelogue, here…

– – – – *** – – – –

We rolled into beautiful downtown Long Beach, Washington about 4:30 or 5:00 PM on Tuesday afternoon – and naturally couldn’t find a decent parking place. It’s WSIKF week, after all! So we decided to park near the south end of the beach and walk up the boardwalk north to festival central, which Charly and I did.

The day’s scheduled events were pretty much over, and most folks were busy tidying up and putting away – meaning that there were probably only a couple hundred kiting people left on the beach… The place is HUGE, folks! We’d passed the southern half of the event venue on our way up – consisting of warm-up fields and competition fields and “featured flyer” fields. Yep – there was Ray Bethell – the Multiple Kite World Champion – out there, packing up his dualie stacks and lines (more about Ray later). The northern half of the venue was dedicated to the Single Line crowd – including a HUGE field dedicated to flying those large “display” kites and animal figures – probably 200 yards by 500 yards as a guess. Yep – some of those folks were busy stuffing their “big toys” into duffel-bags the size of rain-barrels… with a few more of these kites just deflated down on the ground. It kind of puts things in perspective when you see a little lime-green gecko laid out there all flat – and you know that baby has to be fifty feet long!

Well, it all made sense, I guess… The wind had kind of died a little, and the participants were probably feeling a need to feed after a long day anyway. While our trip to Long Beach hadn’t been particularly arduous, it HAD been fairly long, and we had other folks to see before we bedded in for the night. We took our leave from Jerry and Glenda, hiked back to the car, and headed off to see a mob of folks we knew from down in Southern California – up here for WSIKF, of course. So we started up the Kite-Van and drove the five miles north up to “Hotel Kite-a-fornia.”

Thank God for Mapquest – we hit the place dead-on the first time, but didn’t actually stay very long. These’re fellow kiters, many of whom Charly and I had met down at Dave Shenkman’s “Kite Party” in Huntington Beach back in February, and you can’t possibly FIND a nicer bunch of human beings than this crowd. We’d been invited up to dinner with this bunch on Thursday, but we’d also promised to meet them on the beach Monday morning, so we felt we’d better explain why we’d been delayed. Hugs and handshakes were accomplished quickly, intros were made to those we didn’t already know, and explanations over the delays were given and accepted. We shared some “Hi, How are ya?” chit-chat with everyone, settled on meeting arrangements for the morrow (See ya on the BEACH, man…), and headed for our final resting spot for the night – five miles south of Long Beach in the nice little burg of Chinook.

Anyway – So much for Tuesday…

– – – – *** – – – –

Yes, Wednesday was indeed a bright new day! After a wake-up cup of coffee followed by a five mile drive and a marvelous breakfast at Laurie’s, we hit the beach!

RED, WHITE BLUE DAY! Let’s honor our flag! Also, events for children of all ages! 0-14 in the morning and over 50 in the afternoon.

The day broke clear and sunny due to a high-pressure zone that hung with us throughout the week. It actually got fairly warm, starting in the mid-60s and building to mid-80s with NNW winds from 5-8 mph, building to 12-15 mph in mid-afternoon – in a word, “Perfect” kite flying weather. And my first task for the day was simply to get “the lay of the land.” So off I went… And as I walked from the car to the beach (about three city blocks), and out past the long line of vendors (another two blocks), and out onto the beach itself (another block or two), it soon became apparent that I was gonna be doing a LOT of walking.

The first area of concentration was the Single Line display area, since that’s where I agreed to meet the friends from California. Yes, the “big stuff” was already up – with a couple of Octopui, a pair of large blue teddy-bears, and variety of large flat kites, some flow-forms and various other large kites. Tom Lowther had his large Suttons up and they sure were pretty – all dressed up with colorful tube-tails. Folks had their banners up on poles too, so both the ground and the sky were an absolute riot of color! What an amazing spectacle.

I wandered over to see the folks from California. Steve and Chris were the hosts for this bunch, and they run the Gone With The Wind kite shop down in Chico. I found their Jeep, and soon located about half the crew – out flying near the water’s edge. We got a chance to just chat for a while, watch them fly, and just enjoy the marvelous morning. Fresh sea breezes, a blue sky full of stunning kites, and great friends all around you. Jeez – Life doesn’t get any better than this!

After about 45 minutes of just “hangin’ with my pals,” I decided I’d head back up to the registration tent and Demo area – and almost got hit with an erratic sport kite. It turns out that a youngster had his very first stunt kite in his hands, and didn’t quite know how the thing worked. We had a brief, but cordial, conversation – and I offered to give him a short lesson. Kevin and I ended up spending about an hour together in the morning sun – me doing a little teaching (yeah – being “kite monkey” too) and Kevin learning a fair amount. I kept running into Kevin the whole week at WSIKF, too – and every time I saw him he had a different kite. It turns out that one of the local kite shops would take a kite back in trade if you wanted a more expensive kite instead. Apparently Kevin managed to talk his mom into “trading up” several times, and I think he caught the “kite bug” in the process…

After I left Kevin, and was walking back toward the Demo area, I happened to pass beneath some of the most mesmerizing kites I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing fly – Robert Brasington’s marvelous “Ground Zero” kites are simply astounding…. Robert’s kites are repeating 3-D cellular panels of vivid color, framed on long struts – so that the image you see in the sky is a rock-steady “splash” of color. This description doesn’t tell you very much I’m afraid, so look at the photos for a much better idea. I later had the opportunity to look at Ground Zero kites up close, and the construction techniques are superb, too. Wonderful flying kites – and such “presence” in the sky!

Well, I finally made it back to the Demo area, about two hours after I decided to head over there… Mark Reed and John Welden were busy demonstrating Prism Elixirs and Illusions (new name for the I2K), and Lolly Hadzicki was busy showing off Rev 1.5SLEs and Super Blasts. And I was thirsty, so I finally headed on out to the vendor area for a much needed drink. Oh, heck, I might as well get a plate of something too. I’ve about walked off that nice breakfast – time to refuel.

After lunch (and a short “rest”), I headed over to the competition fields, and watched the “Senior Ballet.”

Senior Ballet
2p.m. Field A
Competitors must be 50 years old or older – This competition will be judged on music selection which should include change of tempo or mood suited to kite flying; smoothness of movements to show control and flow of music; number and variety of moves, innovation and over-all enthusiasm. Performances are limited to 5 minutes. Bring your own music or we can provide the music.

If you’ve not watched a kite competition before, you’re in for a nice surprise. Never mind the part about “Senior,” these folks can flat-out fly a sport kite! Moreover, the music they fly to ISN’T “Swan Lake,” most of it being good old Rock and Roll, or Pop tunes – with some Patriotic music upon occasion. Sport kiters who compete regularly spend hours and hours practicing and fine-tuning their routines, and a well designed and well executed Kite Ballet number is an entrancing art form.

The long and short of it is, one of the fellows up from California, John Gillespie, was able to report on an Internet forum that night that, “I won the Geritol Open and the Depends Classic.” Yeah – just John’s sense of humor, there…

Now, traditionally, Wednesday is the evening for the annual WKA Spaghetti Feed, where the Washington Kitefliers Association raises most of their operating funds for the coming year. Pack the local Grange Hall with all the tired and hungry kiters you can cram in, feed ’em Spaghetti until they’re near bursting, and then hold a raffle and auction on donated kite-related articles. It works pretty well, and everyone seems to enjoy themselves.

Charly, as President of the WKA needed to be there and did his usual sterling job – all items were raffled or auctioned off, and the usual good humor and camaraderie from the kite field filled the hall. Those folks left the WKA spaghetti feed “carbo-loaded” for the morrow, and more than a few of them had new wind-toys to play with the next day.

By the way – many kudos to New Tech kites, who donated many of the items raffled, and were very present at the function. That’s not to say other companies didn’t contribute – they certainly did. New Tech just “stood out” as a major contributor to WKA’s success in the coming year. Without organizations like New Tech, many of the kiters around this country would find kiting to be a less enjoyable pastime. Not only do they enrich our kiting experience through the fine products they make and sell, the manufacturer donations to the sport keep many clubs like WKA going. A huge “THANKS” to all contributors, and for all the festivals they help.

As for me, I hobbled to the car, and Charly and I beat a somewhat hasty retreat to our lodgings down in Chinook. I didn’t waste any time heading for the bed, either. I figured I’d best get myself “healed” if I was going to continue to enjoy WSIKF. Yeah – “It’s a Marathon!”

So long, Wednesday…

– – – – *** – – – –

As you might expect since I went to bed so early, I awoke with the sun, and with a considerably healed pair of legs, Thank God… I might be able to get through this fine day after all – and a fine day it WAS, too! The morning brought crystal clear weather, temps in the 60s (to begin with), with breezes continuing out of the North-Northwest at about 3-5 mph when I awoke. It would warm up shortly though, and winds would eventually reach 12-15 mph in mid-afternoon. “Same old – same old”… Yeah – still kiteflier perfection!

The first order of business was finding a parking spot – and boy, did we get lucky! We finally figured out that the city’s lot right behind the competition areas was the place to be – so we squeaked in and found one of the last 2-3 spots available (Musta been 300 vehicles there). Whew! That cut my walking down by at least half! Believe me, I thanked the attendants profoundly! Then, on to the festival itself…

A popular event for all! A variety of categories and three levels of competition.

Okay, we’re NOT the earliest of “risers” normally, and Charly and I tend to dawdle a bit over breakfast. Being part of the “elder” generation also means we need some coffee before we even get to the table, too. Yeah, we’d managed to fritter away a good bit of time… easing into our morning kinda slow. So, what with one thing and another, the major WSIKF activity for the day was already underway when we arrived.

Handcrafted Comprehensive Competition
Al Councilman & Robin Haas, Co-Directors
Field A, 9:00a.m

  • All kites entered in today in today’s competition will be flown and judged by the “Rules and Guidelines for Comprehensive Kite making Competition,” published by the AKA, as a guideline. The categories will follow (pretty much) the AKA Grand National Competition.
  • Judging criteria includes: craftsmanship, structural design, kite flight and handling, and visual appeal.
  • Each event (except Smallest Kites) will include three competitor levels: APPRENTICE, JOURNEYMAN, and MASTER.


• Trains & Centipedes

• The Smallest Kite


• Flat or Bowed Kites

• Rokkaku Kites


• Cellular or Dimensional Kites

• Delta or Delta Derivatives


• Soft & Semi-Rigid Kites

• Figure or Novelty Kites


• Cooperative Kites (Co-built)

• Stunts or Multi-line Kites


• Innovative Concepts and Designs

• Open or Combined Kites

While the Handcrafter judging was occurring, another event happened that I was sorry to have missed – except from afar… If you’re not familiar with Ray Bethell, Ray is the World Champion of Multiple Sport Kite Flying. Ray normally flies three kites simultaneously – one kite from each hand, and he controls a third from his hips. Well, this was Ray’s time to attempt a new World’s Record flying three stacks of kites. Yeah, the “Guiness” folks were there… You can check out a separate report of Ray’s adventures in this issue of Kitelife.

Yes – Kevin had a new kite when I passed him on the beach… and his Mom broke away from her own flying and thanked me for spending time with him the day before. In all honesty, I’m not sure who has “the bug” worse – Kevin or Mom…

Then it was off to the “big-toys” arena, for another look at these behemoths, and a photo or two. I hope you get a chance to study some of these babies sometime. The raw engineering that goes into them is incredible – just the thought of a 75 foot Octopus, floating in the air, all held open to ram-air inflate and suspend itself aloft to perfection by a series of bridle lines kind of boggles the mind. It really is really a pretty complex design concept.

In the afternoon, when I was off with the vendors for yet another coke, New Tech trotted out a real surprise. They had brought a HUGE “American Flag” kite to fly – and now there was enough wind to fly it for the first time – so out it came. The flag portion of this “kite” measures 65 feet by 110 feet… and, since this was the kite’s maiden flight, it was a real struggle to get it up and flying properly. After some adjustments to the bridles, it finally settled in and flew until reduced wind speeds settled it down to earth again. Pardon the play on words, here, but “Old Glory” was certainly glorious flying that way…thought “Awesome” might be a better word. Anyway, it was certainly a real crowd-pleaser!

Later in the day, I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough?) to help take down and pack away some of the truly big kites. Brian Champie mostly had his Octopii (?) packed away when I wandered by, but helping Dan Whitney get the air out of his lime-green gecko, “Smoochies,” was an interesting experience – amounting to laying on the “bubbles” in the fabric to force the air to bleed out through the fabric. And Dave Gomberg’s big kitty was another matter altogether. Rather than the “squash it” method, Dave chose the “turn it around and deflate it” option – but he got a bit concerned when I understood what he meant and started the turn by myself. Dave was gratified to learn that I had the good sense to pull the tail AND both rear legs around all at the same time, so the kite could empty completely without bubbles. Yeah, these kites all eventually ended up crammed back into their respective stuff sacks for the night… Interesting experience!

Anyway, an extremely fine time was had by all attendees, and breaking away was nearly impossible – but we managed it somehow. So, we headed back on down to our Chinook digs again, and off to bed after a little decompression time – with a grin, rather than a grimace, on my face this time.

Thanks, Thursday… It sure was lots of fun!

– – – – *** – – – –

As usual, I awoke earlier than Charly, and – now that I’ve figured out the coffee pot – I got one going… Ahhh…. The Juice of Life!

Jeeze-Louise, this weather’s really something, isn’t it? Same stuff as the rest of the week… I don’t want to say it’s boring, though. Perfect, YES – Boring, no… Same Stuff, Different Day! (Clear, sunny, warm – Upper-60s to Upper-80s, NNW winds from 5-8 mph, building to 12-15 mph in mid-afternoon). It’s like WSIKF had paid off the Weather Gods or something…

Demos, Hot Tricks, Junior Dual Line Competition and mass ascensions fill the day. The night skies are lighted with the Night Fly and Fireworks.

We decided on a restaurant right downtown for a change, but we put the kite-van in the city’s lot just to be sure we had a space. Then we found a nice place to eat and discuss what we planned to do with the day… and Charly suggested he’d like to visit the three Kite Shops in downtown Long Beach – which sounded like an excellent idea to me.

While we were at it, I need some more batteries for the camera, so the first stop was the drug store… then off to (in order) Long Beach Kites, Ocean Kites, and Above It All Kites… Each stop consumed 20 minutes to half an hour, and involved discussions with salespeople and patrons alike. It was an enjoyable time for both Charly and I, and it was nice to be indoors talking about kites for a change too… And the shin-splints were mostly gone, now, but the occasional “twinges” kept me in check every once in a while – so it was nice to be walking on something other than SAND for a change!

After the couple of hours we spent in downtown Long Beach, we both bought a Mocha and headed for the beach once more. WOW! What a spectacle! More kites and more people – meaning less room to move, and it began to feel like a real festival weekend at this point – sort of armpit-to-armpit if you know what I mean… Well, at least it was that way up toward the vendors. It was still fairly clear down by the Ocean…so I headed that way.

I also stopped by to watch Ray Bethell play with his Kestrels for a while. He’s an amazing fellow to watch, too. Never mind all those World Records he holds, he’s just plain FUN to watch fly! He has the unusual ability to captivate an audience and have his own fun too – and it shows in those incredible routines he flies so well. Of course there were 30-35 people standing around, their cameras at the ready – waiting to shoot the next patented Ray Bethell maneuver. Little did I know that the headlines on the morrow would read “Ray beats Prior Day’s World Record, Flying 39 Dyna Kites At Once!” No, I don’t know what I’d have done if I had known… And my camera was back in the van again anyway. Again…

But I pulled clear of Ray Bethell’s marvelous showmanship, and headed up to the Competition field. An even better show was going to start soon, and I wanted a good viewing point… Have you ever watched “Hot Tricks?” This event is usually one of most amazing thing to watch in kiting…

If you don’t know about them, you should go to a competition and watch them sometime – or join in if you fly sport kites. Opponents compete head-to-head in a pure trick “shoot-out,” flying to mystery music picked by the sound-booth, alternating in half-minute stints over a three minute period – so each flier gets three half-minute chances to impress the judges. By the way, the judges are the fellow Hot Tricks competitors who aren’t involved in this head-to-head – with crowd reaction strongly encouraged to help the judges pick a winner. Winners advance to the next round. Single elimination, so the last unbeaten flier left on the field is the overall winner!

Hot Tricks
Eric & Genny Forsberg, Event Directors 12:30 – 3pm field A

The competition is indeed judged by the crowd and the competitors themselves with one final winner. But all are winners in that they are great fliers and on the leading edge of the sport of kite flying. They had to fly a “tie-breaker,” which Welden finally won. Yes, John nearly lost to an eleven-year-old kid from Southern California named Alex Herzog. The kid is a darn fine pilot, too. And believe me – he’s certain to become a force in West Coast Sport Kite competitions. He’ll have another shot at John, I’m sure. And, as the WSIKF program notes (above) state, there really
wasn’t a bad flier in the bunch out there…

After about an hour of this delight, I was becoming more aware of this occasional “growling noise” in the pit of my stomach – I’d forgotten to eat again! We decided on food, coffee, and relaxation rather than perpetuating the agonies any longer… Time to find a restaurant on the north edge of town, get a sandwich, and take a load off my (still healing) shin-splints. There’s always tomorrow…

After a refreshing hour off our feet, and with bellies satisfied, we also opted to forego the pleasures of the night-fly and the fireworks. Instead, we headed north again to spend a quiet evening with the crowd at Hotel Kite-a-fornia since some of the residents/inmates were leaving for home turf on Saturday morning. Somehow, the camaraderie of that superb bunch of individuals will stick with me for a long time… It’ll be tough to think of WSIKF again without also thinking of these fine people, since they’re so intertwined in my mind.

So much for a nice Friday!

– – – – *** – – – –

We did “our usual” by now… Wake up slow, get a cup or two inside ya, then find somewhere to have a good breakfast before heading to the flying field.

Yeah, the weather seemed about normal too… well, maybe a degree or two less than we were used to, and we “sensed” a change in the air as well. A few high stratus clouds seemed to be sending their whisps our way, but it looked like it might be another fine one.

So that I don’t have to intersperse all the stuff through the day, it finally turned out to be “varaiable” weather – Initially clear, but with some early ground-fog, then semi-overcast around mid-day, and finally clearing again by mid-afternoon. Moderate temps too, from the Low-60s when we woke to Upper-70s in late afternoon, and NW winds from 3-6, building to 10-12 in mid-afternoon.

Fighter Kites, Rokkaku battles and the Cody Kite Fly start the day. Add in Mass Ascensions, the Pin Challenge and Showtime for a full day. In the evening, enjoy the Kite Museum Auction / Festival / Awards and Fireworks on the beach.

All right, we’d actually made it to the field one more time! And gosh, were there loads and loads of people… Yeah, it was the WEEKEND now, and everybody and their brother decided they’re rather be here than anywhere else. And they all brought their kites, too… Well, sorta makes sense, I guess. Pins for everyone who signed up for the Mass ascensions, and all sorts of other delights to experience, too…

The mob from Kite-a-fornia, were evident from a l-o-n-g way off… The sport-kite contingent was spread along the water’s edge at about 75 yard intervals. First Steve Hall and his Opium, then Chris Miller with her Mamba and Chicago Fire Bee, followed by Jeff Dubron with his Nirvana, with John Gillespie and his Mamba way north on the end – all strung out in a line…

Somewhere in all that, I got a couple of pretty nice photos of some folks flying through the skiff of ground-fog that rolled in right down on the sand…

Finally, I decided that I’d best move on, though watching these pilots fly these sport kites was very entrancing. But I was probably ready to join the throng now anyway, so I finally just wandered over toward the competition field. By the time I got there, I noticed a very distinct overcast sky once I was away from the water a bit. The overcast over the land would remain until it burned off in the early afternoon, while it remained clear down by the water.

As I sauntered past the demo area adjacent to the competition fields, I saw a guy flying a 20 foot dual-line Pterodactyl-kite from atop a dune. This was one amazing kite, and the pilot was having a fair bit of difficulty flying this “beastie,” too. Apparently, the winds atop the dune were somewhat turbulent, and flying this stunter with a very flexible 20 foot wingspan isn’t all that easy under those circumstances. It certainly was a fascinating kite to see in the air, however – and the flying lizard’s ” ground crew” was as active as any folks I saw on the beach the whole WSIKF week…

While I was in the same general are, I decided I’d stay and watch the upcoming Rokkaku Battle…

Rokkaku Challenge
David Gomberg, Event Director 1pm fields A&B
This is a team competition in which the emphasis is on fun more than winning. The objective is to knock or cut other kites out of the sky using your team’s kite. AKA competition rules will be used.

Put a Microphone in Dave Gomberg’s hand (President of the American Kitefliers Association), and you’re likely in for more information than you can shake a stick at. This is especially true when Dave’s asked to organize a Rok Battle – one of his flying specialties. Dave gets everyone introduced, explains all the rules, and then gets the audience involved rooting for the different teams. Next thing you know, you have a real battle going on, and the audience is fully involved in all the action.

The “Rokkaku Challenge” at WSIKF was simply fascinating to me. Two preliminary “heats” get everyone into the action, and the points accumulated in the first two heats determine who flies in the third, “final,” heat. Kites cut the flight-line of other kites. Kites bumped, tipped, and intertwined with other kites – forcing them to the ground (and sometimes both kites fell to the ground together, too). The “final” heat took about twenty minutes to fly, since the teams left on the field were quite experienced enough to be able to recover a kite headed for the ground… and multiple recoveries kept the action going! Finally, though, a single kite remained flying, and was declared the winner!

After the “battle” was over, it was maybe time to get out and into the crowd, but the old shin-splints were starting to get to me again. Maybe it was just time to sit a while and take a load off my feet, so I headed off to the Vendor’s Row, and another cup of coffee… where I met up with pal Charly! It seems like he’d had the same idea, so we stood and yakked for a few minutes – surrounded by everyone within Western Washington, it seemed.

Next thing you know, we were also surrounded by hundreds of people carrying banners… and we realized we were right in the middle of the staging area for the start of the “Parade of Colors!”

Parade of Colors
2:15p.m. North end of the Boardwalk
Join the Parade of Colors with your flag or banner! Everyone is welcome! Line up beginning at the north of the boardwalk (near the flagpole). The parade will travel up the boardwalk and around Field A. The Recognition Ceremony for the Featured Flyers will be held once the parade participants are around the field.

Later in town, over a couple of Mochas, we glanced at the schedule of events, and decided we’d maybe had enough for one day. We can probably miss the fireworks, and we hadn’t bought tickets for the World Kite Museum’s banquet and auction because we were invited to a party down where were staying, and maybe we’d be better off just heading that direction. We finally took our leave, knowing that there’d be another day…

See ya tomorrow, WSIKF…

– – – – *** – – – –

Okay, the party of the previous evening turned out to be “sitting around a bonfire – yakking,” and your humble correspondent was only up for a small part of it… shin-splints barkin’ pretty good, and all that. So I downed a handful of Aspirin and went to bed early!

Anyway, the overcast on the previous morning was a thing of the past, and this new day broke bright and clear, if a tad chilly. The weather had definitely changed, though – because we had a morning breeze straight out of the West instead of the North, at about 2-3 mph. Eventually, the day would turn out to be clear and sunny, with moderate temps in the low-60s to upper-70s, and steady Westerly winds from 3-6, building to 6-10 by mid-afternoon. Again – perfect flying weather.

HEY!!!! WHERE’D EVERYBODY GO???? Yeah, the beach was… ah… EMPTY! Well, pretty much, anyway…

The city’s “cleanup crew” had apparently put in some hefty overtime following the fireworks the previous evening, because all of the WSIKF amenities were gone… Reserved flying fields (BIG Toys, Comp Fields, Demo Area, etc.) were all just “stretches of sand” now… Yeah, a couple of the tents hadn’t made it home yet, but they were workin’ on getting ’em down as we arrived.

And where in the devil were all the people? Yeah, Robert Braselton and his marvelous single-liners was missing. And Ray Bethell was conspicuously absent, too. There weren’t any “Big Toys” up either… Hey – have Dan Whitney and Dave Gomberg, and Brian Champie all packed up and headed for home already? What – NO SOUND CREW – blasting music, and instructions, and information all over the beach?

Everyone come out and fly a kite!

“HEY – WHERE’S OUR FESTIVAL?” (…but, nobody answers…)

Actually, though… all is NOT lost! It’s a nice day. There’s plenty of decent breeze. There’re a few people about. Maybe it’s time to go a-wandering… So that’s exactly what I did!

I actually DID run into someone I knew… Brian Champie – he of the “Big Toy” octopuii (Also the AKA’s Region 11 Director). I found him out in the same spot where he’d been flying his big inflatables while the festival was going on. Brian was flying an older Skyburner UL – a kite he dearly loves – and just having loads of fun with it. Brian was out there using long competition lines, pulling axels and flying figures… We chatted a bit and enjoyed the morning sun, the fresh breeze, and the sparse population.

Charly and I happened across each other, both feeling very pleased to be out of the rat-race that was Saturday, yet also feeling a little “lost” with so little activity. We both wandered a bit more, I took a few more pictures, and then we decided to call it a day – and an “event.” We’d had enough, even though Sunday was very delightful and relaxed.

We both had a great time. We already miss the gorgeous beach, the marvelous breezes, and the wonderful kiting people we spend most of a week enjoying. Yes – what they say about WSIKF is really true! It’s the largest Kite Festival in North America – and perhaps the most enjoyable in many ways, too – though each festival is truly unique and has something special to recommend it…

Thanks for the Day, and the whole festival, WSIKF … and – see you next year?


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Author:Dave Shattuck

As one of our regular and most prolific contributors, Dave "Geezer" Shattuck is a driving force here at Kitelife and a regular at many NW events as well as other locations throughout the year.

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