2004 Washington State International Kite Festival – Day 7

Saturday opened with the classic fog often found in the Northwest, with my money on it clearing up later in the afternoon… I was only partly right.

Team TKO flew and practiced for a little while along the water, their rainbow New Tech Jams standing out clearly in the muggy weather… In the meantime, fliers were already launching single line stuff on all demo fields while the sky was still available to them.

Events began with Mystery Ballet, where fliers perform to musical tracks selected at random from the 50’s, 60’s or “current” categories.  People of all ages showed off their stuff, including Cody Anderson (10 years old?) who finished 3rd at the experienced level flying his own Rainbow Jam… Troy Gunn flew two kites at once and was chosen as Best of Show ahead of the 13 other fliers in this event.

Around 10:30 the sky was blanketed with hundreds of kites from the flat and bowed category, featuring designs and imagery of all kinds… Barry Crites and Vic Espheter wandered back and forth across the field handing out the 3rd pin in a set of four being awarded to those who participated in mass ascensions throughout the week.

I don’t think I’ve seen this many kites in the sky at once at any event in the USA… The sheer measure of fabric in the air was mind boggling!

Cliff and Gerri Pennell directed a Teddy Bear drop, with 15 highly trained para-bears jumping one by one from a kite and floating down to one lucky kid at a time… Every bear found a brand new home!

The sun was peeking out now and then, giving a good sized crowd cause to come out and take in the festival.  In the kitemaking tent, judges were scoring some truly impressive kite pin collections… The 30 largest displays were all given yet another award pin to add.

And then came the rain! Just as the bear drop came to a close, a heavy down pour came out of the southwest and sent kiters scattering for cover… As the crowd dissapated, people brought in most of their kites and the inflatable people were scrambling to get their big stuff down.  Dan Whitney’s Teddy Bear happened to lay down in a little stream on the beach as water poured right into it’s open mouth, and ended up giving him a bit of work in order to pack in.

After huddling in our own tent for a half hour or so, we decided the rain wasn’t going to let up and we headed for the hotel to dry off… Later on we found out there were a hardcore few that actually stayed out to complete the Team Rokkaku Challenge and Cody Fly, naturally many of them were from the Northwest and equipped for the inclement weather.

After dinner at Dooger’s down the street, we wandered over to the Elks Lodge where they were holding the Awards Banquet and Gala… David Gomberg served as the master of ceremonies (see the lucky “horned” picture above), and he did a really great job of coordinating both silent and loud auctions with tons of great stuff, as well as the raffle and volunteer acknowledgements.

With the rain breaking to an ongoing mist, we’ll hope for the best weather conditions possible tomorrow and the last day of WSIKF!

John Barresi