2009 AKA Convention: Day 2

Tuesday morning saw quite a deluge of rain, still cold, putting a slight damper on everyone’s excitement to get out to the field for some real flying… Everything kicked off with a series of workshops including “Kite Crafts” by Dale & Pam Bowden, “National Kite Month” by Rick Hawkins and “Miniature Celtic Kite Designs” by Dave Butler, followed up by “Learn Why Pin Collecting Is Not Dead” by Ron Miller and Vic Eshpeter, as well as “1st timers introduction to convention” where first time visitors can learn about everything going on here at AKAGN.

During the workshops, the official AKA board meeting was in progress with association business including the presentation of two site proposals for 2011 convention (Roaknoke Valley VA and Hatteras NC) which will be reviewed for suitability along with any other candidates that come along in the meantime.

One very interested topic in the board meeting was the possibility of co-locating the annual Kite Trade Show (KTAI) with the AKAGN, not overlapping, but sharing the same venue on back to back dates with hopes of revitalizing these two respective organizations by bringing more of our community and industry to one location where they can more readily benefit from each other… Stay tuned for more news on this as it develops, it is still an idea (a good one – imho), and will be reviewed thoroughly on both sides before any decisions are made.

I’d be remisss if we forgot to give a nod to Maggie Engvall, who has probably spent the better part of every day here tirelessly receiving and cataloguing auction items as they arrive… Talk about a thankless job, but highly valuable as the AKA generally raises quite a bit from the annual Great Kite auction.

Following the various workshops and board meeting, given the still rainy conditions, fliers assembled for our first mass ascension in the hallways outside the workshop room which gave passerbys (traveling between hotels, shops and hospital) quite a view of some great handcrafted and store bought kites while participants collected the first of several pins which will be given for the various mass ascensions held through the week.

As things came to a close at the hotel, sport kite competitors made their way out to the Fuad Mansour Sports Complex for their outdoor comps in the face of ongoing rain, joined by some fighter kite folks who came out to try their hand at the “Turkey Shoot” wherein pilots try to fly their kite down to a target and paste it there… Despite the conditions and low attendance, spirits were superb and all of the comps for Tuesday were completed.

Two masters class teams came to throw down this year, also vying for their stake in any World Championship qualifications for 2010 in France… Air Zone and Chicago Fire braved tough conditions, making the best of a variable 8-15 mph winds… Fortunately, everyone was packing up just as the rain started to carry a small amount of sleet along with it.

What better time to go indoors? Attendees and competitors gathered at the Rochester Athletic Club for our indoor competition and demonstrations including a powerhouse demonstration by the 2009 AKA multiline champion Zach Gordon (video below)… I never did locate the score sheets last night when everyone scattered for the evening, but I’ll be sure to find them today and get some TBA results online with our next update.

After all scheduled activities fnished up, Ben Dantonio and I joined a few friends for dinner at a fantastic Italian joint called “Victoria’s”, some of the best italian grub and service I’ve had in a while… This, coupled with news that my cat passed away in my absence was enough to send me to bed, thank you kindly for your patience with the next-day update here.

More fun today, the rain has broken to show blue skies… While it’s still cold, it’s dry and I look forward to seeing the outdoor site come to life.

See y’all tonight/tomorrow…

John Barresi