Issue 57: Carolina Kite Fest

The 20th annual Carolina Kite Fest was held on October 27th and 28th  at the Sheraton Resort in Atlantic Beach. The event was very successful even with a slow start due to badly needed rain on Saturday am.  As the rain cleared the flyers came out to join the hardy Ben D’Antonio of Revolution who had defied the elements and flew in the rain – a model for us all.

Ben was joined by Randy Tom and Ray Wong who flew their art kites to everyone’s enjoyment.  Special thanks to Randy and Ray for conducting a sewing seminar on Friday where a dozen sewers made hatas in a fish design intended to expose them to all the opportunities  to be found in appliqué technique.  The attendees affectionately called the all day session “The Sweat Shop”.  A special mass ascension was held on Sunday where 6 of the 12 kites were flown.  Great job everybody!

Saturday was a low-key fun fly day with little structure and lots of fun flying to the enjoyment of the growing crowd.  Al Sparling  got the Octopus up with very wet tails due to the small beach and unfavorable wind direction.  We still loved it. Frank Morril of Go Fly A Kite flew the Randy Tom- Sponge Bob- Giant kite beside the Octopus in the air and the ocean. The Bay Area Sundowners flew a nice routine  and everyone got some center stage time.  Hunter and Paul from Blowing in the Wind in Wilmington stopped by and gave a great demo of their new dual line.

Saturday night the awesome night fly was dry and windless.  The Sundowners did their best and we all enjoyed the pleasant evening of trying to fly in winds gusting to 1mph. Doug L’Hommedieu of Charlotte out did us all with a cube with lively lights inside.  Frank Nosal’s Big Black made a great ground display. Most of the rest of us just looked cute with our kite lights on our bodies.

Sunday was wonderful.  The sky was blue with an assortment of clouds to enhance viewing and picture taking enjoyment.  The offshore wind was mostly adequate and sometimes bumpy.  Mass ascensions were held for 9 different types of single line kites plus quadlines. The Sky Skimmers by Jeri Dixon set a new record of 16-19 kites flown (depending on who was counting).  Six of the workshop fish hatas flew with one wearing a custom eye patch.  Al Sparling flew the Octopus and the Big Grey Cat with assistance from Bob Snow and his Triangulation pilot.  To celebrate the 20 years of the festival a call was made to fly the vintage kites and many came forward. Peter Powel, Trilby, Hawaiian Team and North Shore Radical, Lots of White Cloud Dragons, Kites of the Four Winds feather deltas, Go Fly a Kite Octopus from the early 1980’s, Neptune Fish from Joel Scholtz, A Pumpkin Skywave from Shanti, Hyperkites from Randy Tom, Custom Kites from Rick Tuttle, plus many many more.

Unfortunately we lost a vintage 16 foot Jerry Sinotte Big Black Delta in a line crossing accident.  “Big Black”  was watched by all as it sailed over the horizon with tails, flag and windsock line laundry proudly displayed. Thanks to Frank and family this kite had been flown at 19 of our 20 Kite Festivals.  We will miss “Big Black.”

The Bay Area Sundowners flew several routines including a new one to the delight of the crowd. With the exception of the candy drops nothing is as popular as the Sundowners. Beginning and advanced quad line lessons were held by Revolution’s Ben and dual line lessons were held by Frank of Go Fly a Kite.

Thanks to all who attended and participated in this event.  The volunteers make the event possible.  Special thanks to Ross King for 20 years of wonderful assistance and invaluable help and counsel.  The new location at the Sheraton worked well and thanks to the management and staff.

See you next year on the 25th and 26th of October at the Sheraton.

Don Dixon

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Author:Don Dixon

The Dixons have hosted 20 Carolina Kite Festivals as thank yous to their many customers. The family are avid kite flyers and art kite collectors who actively work their kite shop. They enjoy all types of kite flying from fighters to traction. Most of all they enjoy the customers who come to the beach and participate in their passion for kites.

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