2009 AKA Convention: Day 1

With fifteen conventions under my belt as of this one, I do like arriving at AKAGN a day early to watch everything slowly coming together, getting the lay of the land and finding my favorite little eateries and coffee joints, not to mention preparation for these daily updates, last minute kite tweaks and getting caught up on work before the week gets into full swing.

With the first day of convention dedicated primarily to arrivals, registration and preparations for our big start tomorrow, it was pretty laid back here with fliers periodically arriving, milling around the lobby, greeting friends, making new ones and exploring the area around our hotels… Separated by one block, the event hotels (both Kahler) are part of a pretty significant network of walkways and underground halls which interconnect the surrounding hotels, shops and of course, the Mayo Clinic which is directly across the street.

Just about ten minutes away, Ben and I made our way to check out the event field, the Fuad Mansour Sports Complex… It’s spacious, all lawn in good condition, looks like a decent inland venue provided the weather works in our favor… Rumors of heavy rain and high winds tomorrow, but the forcast bodes well starting Wednesday and through the rest of the week… Been pretty chilly though, with tempuratures just under 50 degrees for a good part of the day, colder early this morning.

Making our way back to the hotel, we settled in for some more quality “pre event” time with the early birds, made friends with the bartenders and further familiarized ourselves with the general layout of the area… It’s pretty busy down here during the day with the Mayo Clinic right next door, but I did spot this nice little courtyard right outside the bar where I’m liable to pop out a Rev when things get slow around here, if they get slow!

The AKA reception started at 4:30pm complete with a cash bar, appetizers and a proper meet and greet with a 50/50 raffle and essential announcements… Indeed, it’s going to be a small convention this year with approximately 150-160 registrants, but much as I observed in Des Moine, it’s created an intimate tone where we’re afforded the opportunity to meet and learn about folks we might not always have the chance to interact with at a larger convention.

In speaking with the majority of our early arrivals today, it’s evident that while the kiting community is still pondering and working on issues, everyone here is in great spirits and seem to be genuinely hopeful, looking forward to growth and improvement in the years ahead of us.

Also worthy of note, the surprise return of Adrian Conn, a veteran kitemaker commonly acknowledged within the single line community for his contributions years ago… I’d never had the opportunity to speak with before, and found it to be an absolute treat to hear his passion and observe his (re)inspiration… Welcome back Adrian, sincerely, it’s good to have you back on the scene.

Tomorrow brings morning workshops from 9am to 11:45am, then sport kite competition and mass ascension, the angel fly, and then of course, the indoor free flying and comps… Please do send good vibes for fair weather tomorrow, and come on back to pick up on the latest news right here on Kitelife, I’ll be back with more photos, tidbits and TBA scores as they become available!

Also, just friendly reminder… Convention being what it is, my evenings will get later and later as the week goes on, there will be some days where I post the next morning but we’ll be on it, every day of AKAGN.


John Barresi