Issue 36: XXIV Cervia International Kite Festival 2004

Wow!! What another great year this is turning out to be for me with a full sponsored trip to South Padre Island for their International kite festival which was a huge success last February, and just a few days ago I was an invited guest at the World Cup Team Sport Kite Championships in Berck France which indeed was the best one so far weather, wind and spectator-wise, I didn’t miss one day flying out of the 10 days I was there (which I will write about in my next Ray’s adventure article).

This was the 24th Cervia International kite festival and I have had the honor of being invited to the last 5 of them. Each year it just seems to be even better than the previous year, if that is at all possible. This festival ranks among one of the biggest and best kite festivals in Italy… Kite flyers are invited from around the world, plus kite flyers from all over Italy, as well as those from many other parts of Europe that come to participate. As I have often mentioned in my other articles, each one of us has been invited to do a job to the very best of our ability, and each one of us rely on each other to make this kite festival a huge success. We are not really here to fly for ourselves, we have been invited to entertain the literally tens of thousands of spectators who have come to see what it is all about. The name of the game is to please them so much that they return again and again bringing friends and family, I am very fortunate and proud to be able to play a part on this elite team of individual kite flyers from around the world.

The Cervia kite festival is very lucky to be situated on such a beautiful part of the nine-kilometer beach, usually each morning the wind is very light and comes from inland, but it is a very sure bet that by 11 am the wind changes and comes off the ocean at a beautiful 10mph. I am given my own part of the beach to give all day multiple kite demonstrations, as it is literally impossible to fly sport kites anywhere else on the beach because the sky is jam packed with kites of every description color and size. And what a treat it was to see Scott Skinner from the US and Malcolm Goodman from UK flying some of their unique kites, there were also dozens and dozens of huge inflatable kites flown by Peter Lynn from New Zealand and the No Limit Team from Germany who really amaze me as they work so hard each morning at getting all their kites into the air, and then work even harder to pack them away each evening only to repeat it all again each and every day of the festival.

No Limit Team is comprised of a great bunch of young and very talented kite designers and builders whom I have known for some time, I’ve had the pleasure of their company at kite festivals for a number of years and have yet to see any one of them lose their cool, no matter what the situation… They are all for one and one for all. No Limit Team also participated at the World Cup in Berck, then packed all their kite gear along with Peter Lynn’s kite stuff into a trailer then drove for 23 hours to Italy for this year’s Cervia International kite festival to repeat it all again for another 10 days or so, when I look at how dedicated these young guys are I know for sure that the future of kiting is in real good hands.

The festival is well supported by literally thousands of spectators, especially on the weekends when the area around the festival becomes wall to wall with people… They have a great sound stage right on the beach where music is played all day and the people are very well informed on what is happening throughout the day, and then in the late afternoon when most of the huge kites have been taken down it is time for us to entertain the masses with team and individual sport kite demonstrations, with this year’s winners of the STACK Sport Kite competitions giving the spectators an extra treat by flying their spectacular winning Ballet routines.

At kite festivals all over Europe I have always found the audiences so very easy to please, and they are not at all shy in showing their appreciation with handshakes, hugs and the old Roman thumbs up sign, it is a great feeling when walking back to the Hostel after the festival each evening… People will stop and shake my hand, drivers in the cars will honk their horns and give me the thumbs up sign. I cannot remember in all the years that I have been invited to Europe being videoed and photographed so much as I was this time, it is unbelievable how many people ask me for the name of the music I fly to, and if it is available in Europe.

The Mare e Vila where all the kite flyers stay is I guess like a huge Hostel, which is perfect as all the flyers are under one roof and each evening after dinner it is party time. Everyone gets together in the Bar room for fun, chatting, dancing, plus a slide show of the days festivals pictures, and each night a different country provides wine, cheese, and other snacks, which every one enjoys. It is a huge get-together meeting of old friends and plenty of new ones… One of the best things is that no one has to take a cab home, mind you a few times I found the stairs leading up to my room hard to negotiate.

On our last evening Claudio Capelli drove us to his home along with four other kite flyers, where we had a wonderful time admiring some of the most interesting artifacts from around the world which I have never seen except in a museum, I did not got a chance to see them all as Claudio his lovely wife and daughter were taking us to dinner, and what a dinner it was! I am not a great lover of pasta, but somehow the Italians have a very special way of making it that is entirely different than how it is done in North America. Claudio’s daughter Caterina told me that the restaurant cooks all over Italy are sworn to secrecy never to reveal the secrets that have been handed down from generation to generation, not even under the pain of torture and death.

The evening and dinner was a perfect way of finishing this year very successful kite festival we all have such wonderful memories to take home with us and I am sure every one of us is looking forward in returning again in 2005.

And alas, as always I could literally ramble on for hours about this great International kite festival as so much has been left unsaid, but it is time to thank all the many sponsors who’s once again contributions have made it possible for myself and many others to be sponsored to this unique world class festival, thank you Claudio and Caterina Capelli, and your great team of volunteers and not forgetting all the spectators that always make every kite flyer feel so very welcome. Oh and I must not forget to mention a very big thank you to the four lovely nurses that took care of me and made sure I made it back to my room each night to tuck me in after the festivities.

Thank you for listening.