Issue 57: Lincoln City Fall Festival

What? It’s fall already?  With the AKA Grand Nationals over, this left one single outdoor event left in the Pacific Northwest, Lincoln City’s annual Fall Festival. Traditionally held on the second weekend of October, this is one of three festivals that the Lincoln City Visitors Bureau holds every year, with their Indoor festival in March and their summer festival in June as the other two. It makes for a nice “wrapup” to the season and it’s an event I’ve been to 3 years in a row now.  Lincoln City for me represents my “start” in kite flying. I flew my first Goodwinds Wind Deemon there in 1995, armed with Ron Riech’s seminal book on kite flying, so returning there is always a pleasure, despite an 8-10 hour drive, where the Seattle – Olympia corridor traffic being the determining factor on my final arrival.

In this case, the drive didn’t include any bad traffic nightmares so I rolled in around 9PM on Friday evening. Enough time to settle in, relax a little bit and get a good night’s sleep before the event gets underway. We (iQuad and a few others) were staying in a nice condo not too far away from the beach itself at the D River (also known as the world’s shortest river!). Upon waking up Saturday, I saw a beautiful, clear blue sky with just a smattering of fluffy white clouds. Just the perfect kind of day for flying in!  We headed off for a quick breakfast at the Wildflower Lodge and then it was off to the beach to get some kites out! The Lincoln City Visitors Bureau always invites a good number of flyers to participate in the event, and this time around, we had Penny Lingenfelter, The Gombergs (nearly in their home town!) Ronda Brewer, both Kevin and Linda Sanders from Australia (who stayed over after being at the Nationals the week before), Phil & Barbara Burks with the Octopi and various other inflatables, Lam Hoac, Jeremy Colbert, Deb Cooley, Bob Serack (with his stunning collection of banners) , Ken Tummina, Al “Twinkle Toes” Washington, Miriam Schafler, John & Marzlie Freeman, Ellen Pardee, Ed Jensen, and last but, certainly not least Amy Doran. Phew! That’s quite a collection of kite talent collected on one small beach.

I mention the small beach for a reason. If you have never been to Lincoln City before, let me paint a picture for you. The beach access is located right beside where the D River lets out into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a quirky little river, sometimes it will flow straight into the ocean, but, typically into the fall, it sort of meanders all over the place and usually over into the main field where the event is held. And, this year, it was no different, with the D River cutting across the sands of the main field, leaving about 150 feet of sand, when the tide was out. Now, couple this with some of the highest tides of the year happening and by mid day, a very small beach had gotten quite a bit smaller.

A fine example, Amy had asked me to spot for her when she flew one of the first routines of the day. “Sure” I said, “not a problem”. A few minutes later, I’m off talking to Dave Gomberg at the side of the demo field. We snickering away, having a fine old time, when I look up and Amy is out in the water, up to her knees as a sneaker wave has run her over. This elicits more snickering on my and Dave’s part until it suddenly dawns on me that I really SHOULD be out there helping her out. Oooops. So, I sprinted across the sand and moved her back up out of the water onto somewhat dryish sand. But, this became a recurring theme for the weekend’s festival. Given iQuad tends to fly on 120 feet of line at nearly all times, we spent much of the day immersed in water or getting overrun by waves at random times. I finally caved and simply dumped my shoes as it was going to be a losing battle no matter what. Thankfully, it was a pretty warm and sunny day, so, it didn’t get too cold. Either that or I quickly went numb from the waist down and simply didn’t notice the cold any longer. iQuad has brought in Mike Kory of Illinois, one of our remote alternates for the event and I suspect he was caught a little off guard by the amusing antics of the beach but, I’m happy to report that I know he had a fantastic time out on the West Coast with all of us.

Something else worth mentioning for other people who may be organizing festivals. iQuad ran across this first when we were in Swift Current, Saskatchewan last spring and again here at the Lincoln City Fall Fest and, its a good idea thats worth sharing for other organizers as a “thing” for the kids to do, and get them further into the kite festival. The organizers had printed off small booklets that acted as a festival program. Within these, there were small bios on each of the kite flyers that were invited to the festival. The idea is that the kids take these booklets around to the flyers listed inside, and have those flyers autograph thier spot in the program. Once kids have collected a specific amount of signatures, they can then trade these for “valuable prizes”. This really gets kids involved in the event directly and the flyers are amused by it as well. The only thing to watch for is little kidlets crashing the main demo field in their hunt for autographs. And if chaisng down kiteflyers in the sand isn’t enough of a workout, there’s always Bol Racing…

Despite the ever changing tides, waves and disappearing fields, the festival went on successfully all day long and I’m sure it was pretty amusing for the crowds, watching us all somehow cope with the elements. Saturday’s wind was a little light for most of the day but, it wasn’t anything that the flyers assembled couldn’t deal with. It did keep some of the larger inflatables down but, it certainly didn’t slow the sport kites down.  S the afternoon wound down, the tide was beginning to head back out to where it belonged again and the beach slowly grew back to its “usual” size but by that point, people were itching to accomplish two things, in a particular order. Find DRY pants and shoes and then head over to the Casino to partake in their buffet. I used to be a bit of a snob towards buffets however over the last couple of years, I find myself so hungry after forgetting to eat during the day that I’ve come to appreciate the idea of ALL YOU CAN EAT. Because after a day like that, I can certainly eat a fair amount. I’m a particular fan of dessert buffets…

Not very surprisingly, it ended up being a pretty early evening for us all. I think we were all off to sleep before 11pm! One needs their rest if they are to tackle a second day of wading through demos! While Sunday wasn’t quite as sunny as Saturday had been, we were blessed with some stronger winds which brought more of the really large kites, much to the delight of the crowd. Of course, the tides and sneaker waves were just as much of an issue/entertainment factor for all the flyers involved but, in a situation like that, its best to simply smile, laugh and enjoy yourself, which I think everyone did. The peak of the high tide was a little later on in the afternoon which bought us all a little extra beach time, but, the wind direction also helped people stay a little dryer throughout the day. Penny rounded up kids for her Cat In the Hat number, iQuad flew nearly the entire day, Lam Hoac worked his magic whether it was on a rev or a dual line and Amy Doran flew her Nationals winning tribute to Charlie Chaplin routine. Her son Connor also did some of his very first demos for people.

Across both days, announcing was well covered by Bob Wendt, keeping the crowds informed as to what was happening throughout both days. And the crowds were great both days though a little smaller on the cloudy Sunday. Alas, like most good things, the festival began to wind down Sunday afternoon, leaving only one thing more for me to do, make the long drive back home, spending it reminiscing on what a great festival it was, yet again. Thanks to all of the organizers and volunteers who help make the 3 Lincoln City festivals run so smoothly, without your tireless work and energy, they’d never come off.

Thanks and when is the next festival?  Oh wait, the next festival in Lincoln City will be the Lincoln City Indoor Festival, held in March. Check back here in the February issue and we’ll have a full writeup on what to expect.

Keep yourself dry and see you soon…

David Hathaway