Simply put, the Lincoln City Oregon Visitors and Conventions Bureau (VCB) puts on a dandy indoor kite show. Well – let me tell you, folks – they ABSOLUTELY ROCK!!!
Why are we SO high on Lincoln City? Well, we’ve been to or heard of several places where the city government helps put on a kiting event – notably the Zilker Festival in Austin Texas, the San Ramon Festival in San Ramon California, and the Brookings Festival in Brookings Oregon. And, I’m sure there are other Fests around the country very similar to these…
What’s different about Lincoln City though, is not just the town’s assistance – it’s the city’s whole philosophy, motivation, and attitude! Lincoln City knows there are lots of coastal towns, and if they’re going to compete for tourist dollars there needs to be something that sets Lincoln City apart from the rest. Therefore, this town makes sure there’s something for every tourist all summer long and every single weekend throughout the year.
As a part of that philosophy, Lincoln City has decided that Kiting is very much a part of its self-image – and the city wants others to know of and share that image of Lincoln City, too. So, Lincoln City has decided that they will “create” three kite festivals every year – a Summer and a Fall Outdoor Festival, and an Indoor Festival. And to make sure these kite festivals (and many other events) are successful, they’ve built the mechanism to make it happen – called the Lincoln City Visitors and Conventions Bureau.
Well, Ron Sears from the VCB is “our” point guy for kiting events… And along with his Director, Sandy Pfaff, and an assistant, Amanda Baker, the Lincoln City VCB really does “Make It Happen!” They Plan. They Organize. They Coordinate. And YES – They FUND!
This year, the VCB brought Lee and Debbie Park back as “Show Producers.” They also brought Lam Hoac and Scott Weider and John Barresi in as participants in the program. They paid for the Lighting and the Smoke Machine. They coordinated the volunteers and vendors and exhibitors. They provided the venue (THREE flying spaces, folks – one for vendor demos and kite try-outs and teaching, one for flier practice, and one for the show itself). They handled all the publicity – so much so that I heard about the “Lincoln City Indoor Kite Festival” on radio spots in Portland – over 100 miles away.
Yup – Ron Sears and the VCB had made this event “happen.” And without their philosophy, vision, and commitment – it’d never have occurred the way it did! Other cities and localities, please take note. These Lincoln City VCB folks are simply – AWESOME!!!
Wednesday – On the Road:
So early on March 22nd, a bunch of us were headed out of Portland toward Lincoln City in order to start putting another show together the next morning… A two hour and a half drive saw us pulling into town that afternoon, already looking for some fun.
The first order of business, of course, was to stop in at the “D” River Wayside right on Highway 101 for a little outdoor flying, knowing that we’d be mostly indoors for the next few days. Lam Hoac and John Barresi pulled out their Sea Devils, as did Justin Redington, and Scott Weider flew whatever was handy – and everyone flew on until late in the afternoon. Then it was time for checking into the condo, a quick shower, some good food, and maybe even a little liquid camaraderie – some comes in bottles, and others found their relaxation in the hot tub…
Thursday – Building the Show:
The next morning found most of us at The Wildflower Grill in Lincoln City, our favorite place for a superb breakfast – and then it was off to the Taft High School gym to start building an event. Sure enough, Sandy Pfaff and Ron Sears from the VCB were there to greet us, and the gym set-up was already underway. Our friends – or should I say KITING’s friends – Lee and Debbie Park were already there and had started working with the maintenance staff to hang the backdrops, hook up power for the sound system, stage lighting, and Smoke Machine, and they also chatted with each of the performing pilots as they arrived. As the show’s Producers, Lee and Debbie had all the major efforts going pretty quickly, and they soon let everyone know that the first walk-thru for the show would happen at 1:00 that afternoon. No dawdling or messing around where these two are involved.
Now, for those of you who are not familiar with the kind of show Lee and Debbie produce, I have to tell you that it’s unlike anything else you’re likely to find anywhere in North American Kiting. What was being built was something more along the lines of a theatrical stage show (hence the stage lighting and the Smoke Machine), but also dissimilar to other shows you’re going to find in say Atlantic City or Las Vegas too – It’s more along the lines of the Cirque du Soleil shows in which the Parks performed, or Cirque sur Glace which Lee and Debbie also produce. And, believe it or not, if you’re a Kitelife subscriber, you can watch a video of one of the show’s amazing performances down in the subscriber section.
Anyway, the effort to put this new show together was underway quickly, but had the normal hitches and starts, revisions, corrections, and adjustments. Within a couple of hours though, Lee and Debbie had the show’s entire framework laid out, the first walk-through (or fly-through?) was complete, and everyone was fairly comfortable with their own parts. And it was crystal-clear from the get-go that this show would be another winner – and all of the pilots were delighted! While last year’s show had consisted of an opening number, followed by each pilot’s separate individual performance, this year’s effort was one seamless hour-long show, planned and choreographed from beginning to end. And this time the show’s “WOW” factor was absolutely out of sight!!!
Friday – Performance at Lincoln City:
Just so you know, the assembled kite-flying cast officially performed the show a total of three times… Friday night, Saturday night, and again on Sunday afternoon. But as far as actual times flying in front of people went, they also flew twice more – once Friday afternoon in a Dress Rehearsal, and then the AKA pilots also flew a sanctioned Indoor Competition on Saturday afternoon. Yep, it was a busy time for the pilots – but everyone performed flawlessly.
Friday broke bright and clear, and it was time for a few of the pilots to head for the Tanger Outlet Mall. Kite Comps are one thing, but this was a classy enough event that some of the performing pilots decided they needed some new performance threads… Sure, some didn’t worry too much and just made do, but several folks bought new shirts and slacks and a few people even purchased some indoor shoes so they wouldn’t mark up the hardwood gym floor. Then it was time to get a bite to eat and then head for the gym.
Competition pilots are very used to attending Pilots Meetings of course, but that’s apparently not Lee and Debbie’s way… So when the pilots walked in, Lee grabbed a couple to iron out a few foibles in their routines, and then it was time to get ready for the Dress Rehearsal. Everyone got into their glad-rags. Crank up the sound. Dim the house lights, bring up the kliegs, and fire off that ole Smoke Machine. Places, everyone…? Okay – We’re ON! Bob Wendt, our excellent event announcer, got it started with appropriate verbiage and music, and then they were indeed underway – complete with about 40-50 people in the stands who’d come out to see the show.
Well, I suppose they could have done it better somehow. There were occasional hesitations a couple of times… And when multiple fliers were on the floor, I could sense some worrying about where kite-lines were and who was going to cross someone else’s lines and bring the whole caboodle to the floor… but that stuff just never happened.
The folks in the stands got their show, and they “Oooh’ed and Aaah’ed” at the appropriate places.
- They were teased by close overhead kite flight from several of the pilots.
- They got an up-close look at several national champion pilots flying at their best indoors.
- They got to watch Debbie Park nearly fall to the floor on her tissue streamers.
- And they also saw Debbie fly a Synergy Deca while standing on Lee’s shoulders.
And the audience certainly applauded each pilot when they left the floor. After all was said and done, the Dress Rehearsal was completely over before anyone even realized it – and it had all gone off with nary a hitch. Nobody even broke a leg.
Okay – Time for a little down time. Get some food. Hydrate yourself back up. Wander into the commons area and visit The Kite Shoppe’s booth or eat something from the vendors. Maybe go outside and get some fresh air. Or you could share a little conversation or go fly a bit out on the gym floor. But as far as I know, none of the performers left the school. After all, they all had a full-blown performance coming up shortly.
And then it was… SHOWTIME!!! So I wandered up to the very back row of the bleachers where I could stand up – hopefully to get some good photos of this event. It was not to be – the light was too dim, and my camera compensated by taking very l-o-n-g exposures. So long that everybody moved in the photos, and they’re just plain unusable – so any photos you see here are the fruits of someone else’s efforts. Still, I got something out of watching the show again. This time, all the jitters and occasional lapses were gone. Everyone was “on” for the performance, and it all jelled as a complete show. And – it looked marvelous!
Saturday – Flying the Comps
By this time, most of the pilots are used to being in Lincoln City. They’ve been there for a couple of days and were beginning to get settled in a bit. So the coffee and breakfast bit was easily handled… NOW what do we do? There’s no show practice schedule, because today’s the Competition day.
So they did what they were used to doing – they went to the gym and flew.
Competitions being what they are, the pilots soon monopolized all the open areas for a bit of practice. Those who’d worried about crossed lines and adjacent proximities during the show seemed to have no problems sharing the gym floor with 4-5 other pilots who were also busy buffing up their routines.
Soon Bob Wendt started his normal pre-comp set-ups – thanking all the sponsors, welcoming the audience, introducing the judging panel, stressing any rules of particular importance, and getting everyone into the swing of another indoor competition.
One of the special rules for this indoor comp was that everyone would fly in Open competition, and all contestants would be ranked by score. The final placements and trophies would be divided however, with all the Novice fliers separated out from the more senior pilots. There would be two sets of trophies – one for the Novices, and the other set for the rest of the Open competitors.
Okay, the current thinking is – we kiters need to support and stimulate our Novices! Why not let them fly in an “Open” class, but score them separately, and provide Awards and Trophies for Novices as a way to “seed” kiting’s future? Well, BLESS YOU, Lincoln City! With marvelous support like we get from you – we almost can’t fail! Yes!!! A separate Indoor Class for Novices! How rare is THAT?
And then the comps were rolling…
Competition observations, in no particular order:
- Scott Weider is the 2005 Indoor Champ, and his Rev comp routine showed us why. Flying with élan, Scott was definitely on his game for this one.
- Lam Hoac flew a masterful routine to classical music using a Rev 1.5 modified with a lightweight frame. I found this unusual only in that Lam’s own VIP would seem to be a logical choice for him to fly indoors.
- John Barresi, on the other hand, chose a VIP rather than a Rev – liking the VIP’s control and maneuverability. He flew very well, as expected.
- Wayne Turner arrived in Lincoln City late due to work requirements. While he flew a very nice routine, Wayne seemed off his game just a tiny bit.
- Egan Davis flew his lovely homemade indoor Rev 1.5 to high energy rock and did quite well. Egan is certainly a pilot to watch in the future.
- David Hathaway is another up-and-comer on the indoor circuit. While he flew well as a novice, he’s another one to watch in the years to come.
- Penny Lingenfelter doesn’t really fly comp routines. Penny is all about showmanship, and she flew her Revs with grace and style to patriotic themes.
- Jeff Reid competes, but is not normally a part of the Sport Kite circuit. Jeff flew his lightweight indoor fighters very well.
- Amy Doran is a new pilot – flying indoor comps for only the second time, and she did a very creditable job this time out.
- J. D. Fabich is a novice and was a late comp entry, flying with a borrowed kite, to music off someone else’s CD. Nice job, J. D.!
- Alan Cunningham flies his indoor routines with single line kites. Alan did well with his bird kites.
- Bud Hayes is a skilled and long time competitor… Unfortunately, Bud ran into a couple of mishaps during his performance at this event.
- Justin Redington is a novice pilot with that special fire in his belly. Justin flew a nice routine, but had a couple problems with crashes and relaunches.
Bob Wendt did his usual masterful announcing job – educating the audience, controlling the pace of the event, and making sure everyone got due recognition. And when it was over, the results were:
Novice Indoor Ballet
|J. D. Fabich||60.683|
Masters Indoor Ballet
Presentation of trophies was handled by Ron Sears and Sandy Pfaff of the VCB immediately following the last competitor’s flight, and they trophies were marvelous to behold. Lincoln City prides itself on the local glass-blowing artistry, so each winning contestant received a 4” hand-blown glass Fishing Float in a specially made and inscribed wooden base as an event trophy, all created by local artisans.
After the comps, the gym was open for free flying and many competitors took the opportunity to fly some more and to meet with members of the audience. Lam Hoac in particular took advantage of the chance to speak with festival attendees, and was later ribbed by fellow pilots for his crowd of “Lam-a-longs.”
Everyone also had a chance to grab a quick bite to eat and a cold drink – After all, they still had a show to put on that night.
After the dinner intermission, it was right back into the theatrical show again, but this time it was kind of old hat to many of the pilots. Still, the hour-long show offered the chance for each performer to make any little adjustments to their routines or change their performance by adding something new and special.
Since my photos from the prior evening were less than satisfactory, I decided to shoot from the perimeter of the gym floor, so I spent much of the hour on the sidelines of the floor – all to no avail again. There just wasn’t enough light for my camera to record usable photographs, though it wasn’t until the event was over that I knew this for sure. On can always hope though, so I shot on during the performance knowing that I’d kick myself about lost opportunities if these shots had turned out okay…
Still, being down on the floor had its advantages. If nothing else, I probably had the best seat (or stand?”) in the house. So I got to observe some of the special things, like:
- Egan Davis finally perfecting the trick where he flew his custom Rev directly into the backdrop, let it slide nearly to the floor, then recovered the kite and flew away. He got a nice hand for that move.
- Lee Park flying his very large indoor White Bird kite. Lee’s face was aglow with delight in that kite, and his performance showed it.
- Lam Hoac at his best, flying his indoor Rev 1.5 with ease and grace, then turning on the heat and performing some special moves – including a demo of his line-jumping abilities.
- Alan Cunningham flying his three small single-line birds simultaneously, then maneuvering them into a stacked refuel position, and finally un-stacking them into individual flight again – all in the air, of course.
Now – especially for you Kitelife Subscribers – there’s an opportunity to watch this whole Saturday hour-long show on video. And for those of you who AREN’T subscribers, here’s one of the reasons you’ve been hunting for to subscribe.
Soon, the evening’s show was over, hearty applause given and received, and the performers began packing up. It was time for a little rest, recreation, and refreshment. So it was back to the Condo for a little Vietnamese stir-fry.
I don’t know if you’re ever had the extreme pleasure of eating any of Lam Hoac’s cooking, but if you ever do get the chance, DON’T TURN IT DOWN! Yeah, I know all the old cautions about not eating oriental cuisine, but Lam’s culinary creations are truly something special. I can’t really describe the taste, but I will say that I’m VERY partial to his shrimp… (Like I said, if you ever get the chance…) Anyway, about a dozen of us enjoyed some of the best food you’re likely to run across at any kite festival anywhere. And if you left that room and weren’t completely full and satisfied, you only have your own self to blame. What a delight!
Sunday – Final Performances
Okay, we were almost done… Another Lincoln City World Class Indoor Kite Festival was nearly over, and for my money this was the best one yet. Still, there was one more performance to give, and then all that tear-down to do. We’d be lucky to be out of the school by 6:00 PM.
People began gathering at the assigned time, and we were all set to go when Bob Wendt cranked up his microphone to start it off. No worries – everyone was a pro, and they’d seen it all before…
House Lights down…
Light up the Kleigs…
Turn on the sound system…
Okay – We’re rollin’…
Was it a “walk in the Park?” Well – both yes and no. By this time, the pilot transitions were seamless and everyone was spot on with their entries… It was a tiny bit harder getting folks OFF the performance floor though, each realizing it was the last show for this year’s Lincoln City Indoor Festival, and it’d be another whole year before they could play at being “actors” again… And there was added pilot “polish” this time around – both because they’d had more time to really practice their routines, and also because this “last show” bit means you give it all you’ve got – including all the extra flourishes that might have been a bit risky before.
Me? I wandered wherever… Just feeling and sensing all this great kiting energy and “magic” in this phenomenal show. What an extraordinary feeling! And as part of it, I got a chance to see / feel / experience:
- Those patented “Lam Moves,” where he ghosts an Indoor Rev around and then turns up the heat – with Indoor Axels and Line Jumping exhibitions.
- Jeff Reid’s “high energy” fighter-kite exhibitions – both with single Bukas and with stacks of Eddys.
- Lee and Debbie Park and their incredible Dancing, tumbling, tissue, and Synergy Deca exhibitions. Seeing these two fly paired Decas is always one of the highlights of any Lee and Debbie show.
- John Barresi “playing” with a Lam Hoac VIP – floating, and then nearly whipping, it through the air in the entire lexicon of indoor dual-line moves, all done with grace, style, and finesse.
- Penny Lingenfelter flying her Rev with the single-handed handle – stroking the lines and making it glide and flow through the air.
- Wayne Turner and his stacked Wrens, flying all the moves other pilots would fly with a single kite – slowly and with incredible grace.
- And watching Scott Weider and his amazing, incredible Indoor Rev, of course – showing all his expertise with that kite and then just teasing the audience by flying mere inches above their heads at a snail’s pace, while towing a 30’ silver Mylar streamer.
All right – it all HAD to end sometime… Closing moments in the show again, and soon everyone was out on the floor standing in line and taking bows before a VERY appreciative audience – and then it was finally “over.” And there were about five minutes there when all the participants just stood around, and nodded, and smiled, and chatted – almost as if they were unwilling to let this one go. But they eventually knew that it was time to pack up kites and break down the backdrops, and disassemble the lighting and sound systems. And to thank Ron Sears and Sandy Pfaff and Andrea Baker one more time, of course… What wonderful folks they are for envisioning, and then creating, this absolute “gift” of an Indoor Festival!
Sunday & Monday – Post Event
Tear-down was pretty much the proverbial “piece of cake,” and we were outa there in relatively short order. But to where??? Back to the Condo and the Hot Tubs? Some “Beer and Beanery” that we could all afford? Nah… Someplace where we can eat and drink and party sounds more like the ticket! And fortunately, Rhonda Brewer and Lindsey Johnson, who are both Lincoln City residents and had been volunteer help during the show, had set up an Indoor Fest “post-party” at PIER 101, a local eating and drinking establishment. And, LORDY, what a spread!
I’m fairly certain that PIER 101 lost money on all of us that night – if for no other reason than the number of doggy boxes they had to drag out to accommodate those who couldn’t finish the huge hunks of Prime Rib everyone ordered (for extremely reasonable rates, I might add). The party started after everyone had a chance to shower and clean up – and lasted until PIER 101 closed their doors that evening. I’m duty-bound to report that Egan Davis can out-eat any other kiteflier present by a sizeable amount (even “helping” a few of those who couldn’t finish their last few morsels), and we’ll NOT EVEN get into who can out-drink whom… Just let’s say there were a couple of strong drinking competitors present and let it go at that, all right?
Still, even that camaraderie had to end eventually. Nobody was intoxicated yet every belly was filled to capacity (even Eagan “Bottomless-Pit” Davis), and we all made our separate ways to bed for a good night’s rest after a five-day job well-done. We’d pick up the assorted pieces and wend our ways towards our homes on the morrow, thanks!
So the following morning, Monday, broke bright and clear again. This was getting to be an extremely attractive habit, because we’d had decent kiting weather for nearly our entire stay in Lincoln City – even though we’d spent most of our time indoors.
One of the main reasons I enjoy kiting so much is my enjoyment of the people involved. I’ve never been associated with a group of folks who have a more genuine “love” and respect and sheer enjoyment of their fellow man.
And I’d been extremely fortunate during most of a week to enjoy the company of Scott Weider, and I’d quickly come to love this man like a brother. So Scotty and I went to breakfast at the place of his choosing, which turned out to be the restaurant at the top of “The Inn At Spanish Head” just outside of Lincoln City. A marvelous view, excellent fine dining, and great friendship. What a perfect end to a wonderful week, Scott. After that, there isn’t a lot I can say, except…
If you ever have a chance to experience The Lincoln City Indoor Kite Festival and decide to turn it down (for whatever reason), PLEASE let me know… I’ll be delighted to attend in your stead.
And finally – A HUGE “Thank You” to the people of Lincoln City, Oregon. Folks, I just GOTTA tell you – your Visitors and Conventions Bureau absolutely ROCKS!
Dave “Geezer” Shattuck