Issue 55: Lincoln City Summer Festival

All right, we’re on the road again – this time just a hop, skip and a jump down the pike to Lincoln City, Oregon – a mere 80 miles away. So close actually, that we can all afford to drive down to the beach in separate cars. And so we all converge on the “D” River Wayside on a Friday afternoon, and head for the sand with kite-bags in hand. Good Stuff!

This’ll be a rare “short one” for me, because I have a built-in conflict going… I really need to be back in “the city” because my daughter Jessica is rowing in the Northwest Regional Masters Rowing Regatta on Vancouver Lake – back where I started. I’m resolving my “conflict,” however by cutting short my stay at the Lincoln City fest by a day so I can rush back to Vancouver and watch Jessica row.

Anyway, after checking in with Theresa to be certain we all have places to stay tonight, I get out on the beach and am delighted to run into Barbara and Phil Burks. These two nice people are folks we’d met before and friends we’d gotten to know pretty well earlier in the spring when we were over in Bend, OR for their first-ever Kite Festival. And Phil and Barb fly “the BIG stuff” – as in the big Sutton Flow-forms and one of those huge 90 foot inflatable Octopus creatures, among other things.

So Theresa and I assemble one of Barry Poulter’s “Comets” and get it airborne, figuring if Phil has some of his big toys out on display, we might as well add to the show. And then it was time for a little chit-chat among friends and maybe just “lazing” on the beach for a while. Theresa decides she has some other things to do, so I relax for a while, just delighting in the rock-steady breeze and the warm sunshine – which I figure is a nice change from being stuck in that city alongside the Columbia River.

And as the afternoon progresses, other kiters show up, grab a patch of sand and throw a kite or two into the air. Some stop by to say “Hi,” and some don’t, but it’s “All Good,” as they say. Eventually there’re a couple of dozen kiters out on the beach, playing with wind and sun, all “in town” for the Lincoln City Summer Kite Festival, just like we are.

Anyway, on our part of the beach, Phil has that big Rainbow Octopus up and holding steady, so Phil and Barb are out near the water’s edge, playing with their Trlby stacks and trying to keep those long tails from getting tangled. Those stacks sure do look pretty in the sky! Getting lots of “looks” from all of the passers-by, too. NOTHING seems to excite people like a big stack of Sport Kites with long tails… Except maybe TWO stacks flying together, which Barb and Phil are doing!

So my afternoon is going along fairly well, when Theresa shows up again with a can of chilled Lemonade (stuff which I’m decidedly partial to). Gosh, can life GET any better than THIS? The beach, warm sunshine, decent wind, fine kites, good friends, a gorgeous “show” at the water’s edge, the non-kiters gawking and applauding, and nice people bringing me cold Lemonade? Nope – let’s just call this “Kiter’s Heaven” and be done with it. I got it MADE, man…

And I better make the most of it, too – because 1.) I don’t get to fly my kites for people all that often because I’m normally shooting photos and yakking with folks at most festivals, and 2.) because I have to rush back to Vancouver Saturday night, to hang out with my kid on Sunday.

Still, you probably figure I’m not still on the beach while I write this, right? Yeah, that lovely afternoon DID end eventually, with the expected wind-shift in late afternoon when the breeze started shifting around and dropping slightly. Oh, not too much at first, but since we know the territory we know wind-speeds will continue to decline, so after a couple of hours it’s perhaps time to bring the Comet in while we still had enough breeze to do it without hassle – so we did!

Besides, maybe it’s time we headed to our invited “reception” over at the Nordic Oceanfront Inn with our old friend Dawn Bredimus, who’s the Manager over there. We’ve been to several of the Lincoln City kite-fests in the past, and the Nordic always hosts a reception for the incoming fliers, and does a really nice job of it too. And, sure enough – when we pull up and park, there’s Dawn out by the barbeque pit, grilling fresh Oysters for the incoming kite folks! We walk in and run into folks from all over – Team Sixth Sense from up in Washington state, Susan Gomberg from right here in Lincoln City, Dick Curran also from the Northwest, Al Sparling just in from the Chicago area, Ben Dantonio up from San Diego, Al “twinkle-toes” Washington from Portland, and a host of other kiters from hither and yon… We socialize and eat and generally share the camaraderie of kite pilots everywhere. At a fest like this one, life is exceedingly Good!

Then we’re off to the condo Theresa has reserved for us and we eventually get checked in. Yep, we’re “home” for the evening, following a very nice afternoon and a fine opening reception… Time for a glass of wine, and a step outside to watch the iridescent sunset as the Ball of Fire drops into the wide Pacific.

We’re all up early the next morning, with a skiff of rain passing through the area, and after a quick cup of coffee, I pack my gear and re-load the car in preparation for the trip back to the city. Still, we make it to the beach in plenty of time, park the car, and I unlimber a camera and it’s “Show Time!”

And, the first person I run into is none other than Ron Sears, who’d been “the man” for kiters in Lincoln City’s Visitors and Conventions Bureau for several years. Ron’s been doing other things recently, but he’s well remembered and much loved by the kiters he’s worked with. Good seeing you, Ron!

Then it’s out on the beach, and into the thick… And right below the sound booth, there’s a “Demo Field” roped off, and a variety of folks are queued up waiting for their turns to fly for the audience. Lam Hoac is in line, as are Al Washington, plus his grandson Aaron, along with Carl Bragiel – and a whole host of others are waiting in the wings. Bob Wendt, the festival announcer, has the clipboard and is reeling them on and off the field as fast as he can manage. Looks like the “demo” schedule is already pretty full for the day, and getting fuller.

As the day progresses, I notice that every Sport Kiter who feels the need gets at least a couple of chances to fly for the crowd. And if you’re a single line flier, you don’t have to wait for any schedule or pay attention to the announcer. Therefore, Ben Dantonio is out there showing off his Revolutions – right along with Barry “Bazzer” Poulter who has three of his big Genkis up in the air, and is busy playing with HIS Revolution. And Dick Curran has a few of his noodle kites in the air over on the side. Barb and Phil Burks are back of course, this time with a big Red-White-Blue Sutton Flowform up in the sky… And – this being Lincoln City – it’d be darned near impossible to hold a kite fest without several of Gomberg’s inflatables up there too! And I see a few Roks up there, several small to very large deltas, and a host of other kites as well – most of them store-bought rather than hand-made. Yep – we’ve got a Kite Festival going on all right – and the sky is chock full of kites!

So – rather than my attempting to describe to you who made what, flew what, displayed what, or “said” what – I think I’ll just let you look at the pictures a bit. Frankly, I talked to so many people that day that I’ve lost track of who flew what, and where, and when they flew it. (Yeah, that really means “I’m a bit confused” and I’ve lost track of what really happened there. I normally cover this kind of stuff up pretty well so you don’t notice very much, but not this time!)

Yes – the weather held – sorta… The early morning rain moved inland and didn’t visit us again. Oh, a few drops fell under the larger, blacker clouds, but nothing to get very concerned about. But we didn’t get much of Friday’s “clear and sunny” weather, either. The Sport Kite folks flew and demoed, the single liners flew and hung out and talked with the audience, and the public milled around, asked a lot of questions, and even flew their own kites if they had them. That’s really what a Kite Festival is all about anyway, isn’t it? Yep, it IS!!!

Finally, the day on the beach ended, and I made a conscious choice to hang in there a bit longer and go to dinner with the rest of the crowd. Seems to me like we ended up at Pier 101 again, but I could be wrong, too. If I’m remembering right, the WAY oversized platter of roast beef was terrific again – and if not, it was stiff terrific, but we didn’t eat our share this time. I DO remember heading back to the condo for a bit, and then taking off to drive back to the “big city” again – just to hang out with my daughter the next day.

Nope – I’ve no idea how the festival went on Sunday. Yep, I sure did make it to the last day of the Northwest Regional Masters Rowing Regatta. Yes, Jessica did race. Out of the entire three-day regatta, she raced eleven times. And when it was all over, I think she walked away with six gold medals and one bronze… Yeah, I’m glad I went to the regatta, but only a wee bit sorry for the report you read above. All I can think is that my mind musta been somewhere else…

Fair Winds and Good Friends,