Issue 50: Lewis & Clark Exposition

Getting There

Midnight. That was when I told Justin I would be at his house to pick him up on the way to the Seaside event. And there we were at midnight, out in front of Jusitn’s house trying to load all of our gear plus a giant box of homemade cookies in to the back of my tiny car. Yee-haw, lets go. Six hours later, we are in Seaside. Justin is curled up against my passenger window cuddling his pillow and I’ve got one hand shaking on the steering wheel and the other hand is trembling on my tenth cup of coffee. No sleep? No problem. That is what endorphins are for. And thank god for them because that weekend at Seaside was a truly memorable event.

The Venue

Seaside is a particularly great venue because not only is it a tourist town, but the tourists are right in our faces. Actually, we are right in there faces. The main drag of Seaside is full of shops, arcades and restaurants and it ends with a turn-around (promenade) right at the beach. The turn-around also intersects the most central spot on an elevated pedestrian boardwalk. Right at this spot, at any given time throughout the day, dozens of people are standing up against the boardwalk wall, leaning out over the railing taking in the view. Combined with the hundreds of other people making there way down to the beach at this spot, you have got a pretty good captive audience. With a car show happening at Seaside that weekend, there were tons of people to entertain. What a great opportunity to showcase our passion for flying kites.

Close Encounters

All weekend, we had the ability to fly our kites right in front of the faces of hundreds of people. Spectators were extending their hands and kites were hovering right up to them. It kind of reminded me of that scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the aliens waddled off the mother ship and encountered all the scientist humans on the ground. If you have seen the movie you will remember they were pawing at each other with intense fascination. That is what it looked like to me. The kites were checking out the humans and the humans were curiously touching at the ripstop, not even sure what it was they were looking at.

The most amazing encounter was when John Barresi and Monkey (David Hathaway) were literally walking their kites up and down the sheer stucco wall of one of the hotels. People on the balconies were baffled as they witnessed these strange kites “walking” down the walls of their accomodation, stop, and then hover over for a quick greeting before hovering out and back on to the wall to continue on. I could see the wonder in their eyes from 500 feet away! Click here for video of this action on Google.

The Competition

As far as competition goes, the Seaside event was a goodie. Since Spring Fling, the level of competition in every category has intensified. This ’06-’07 season is going to get hot next spring as everyone is going to be chasing down points for Nationals in their own back yard (Ocean Shores, WA). And what a great opportunity it was to display the competitive side of our sport to all those tourists that were lured in from our arial displays at the Boardwalk edge. We were putting on the full show.

Night Flying Action

After some pizza, awards (specially made by Mary Ostey) and a little pinball, a few of us mounted our kites with lighting hardware and went out for a little night flying action. What a great way to end the Saturday. The highlight for me that weekned was flying with John out over the crashing waves late Saturday night. I hadn’t slept in 40 hours and I still didn’t want to stop flying.

Laid Back Sunday

Saturday was awesome and it was more of the same on Sunday. There was good wind, good flying and good times shared with everyone. Sunday was fun for me because I got to spend more time flying off to the side than I normally get to do. It was fun sharing tricks and chatting with Steve Smith on Sunday. And of course there was plenty more informal entertaining of the crowds on the boardwalk. On Sunday, we were treated to a large single lline kite display by Doug LaRock and Phil and Barb Burks. Being primarily a sport kite flyer, I always like it when the single liners put up their stuff. It really puts the festive into the word festival. Thanks guys.

After Sunday wrapped up, a handful of us gathered, as we often do after an event, for dinner. I really enjoyed dinner that night. Not only because it consisted of one pound of ground beef and a strawberry shortcake, but also because of the company and the conversation. If we weren’t talking about something cool that happened on the weekend, we were talking about when we were going to get together and do it again.

Why We Do What We Do

The Lewis and Clark Exposition at Seaside Oregon this year was everything a kite festival should be. We pulled off another great sport kite competition and we put on a great show at the same time. I loved it. Everyone who could bring something to the table showed their stuff and had fun doing it. I want to thank everyone for contributing to that… I would also like to thank Dave Colbert and his new Above It All Kites location Seaside for supporting this wonderful NWSKL event on short notice, and for his longstanding support of kiting in the Northwest.

I hope that we inspired at least a couple of the spectators out there to want to fly kites. I became obsessed with kites when the competition circuit came to my park in Canada several years ago. I had never seen anything like that before and now I live, eat and breathe kites. Let’s keep bringing that energy to all of our festivals and give people a reason to want to fly kites.

    Egan Davis