Issue 80: Dave’s World: Berkeley Kite Festival

Everyone Flies in Berkeley!

Berkeley was great this year. Might have been the best Berkeley in years.

Up on the hill, stings of larger lifters and laundry filled the sky. The learn-to-fly fields were backed up with new students. And the sport kite competitions and demos kept up a steady stream of activity on the “sound” field. There were also candy drops, bol races, rok battles, and a nice program from the Hammamatsu kite team..

Of course, you look at the festival, and one thing stands out. There is a huge pile of giant kites right in the middle. Really huge! But update readers have seen that before. So we decided this year to focus the update on the things that are central to all successful events, but seldom recorded. We decided to focus on the folks who just showed up to have fun.

Berkeley brings out a remarkable variety of people to enjoy the festival. Youngerand older, multi-national and multi-generational, I-poders and eight-trackers, tea-partiers and tie-dyed, cross waving and cross-dressing, cowboys, hippies, bikers, and businessmen. People with so little in common and all sharing the joy of putting a string in the sky — or trying to.

The crowd is enormous. And that’s particularly impressive given that there is no nearby parking. Guests come in on bikes or shuttle busses and pay $10 to park half a mile away.

Now about that sport kite competition. Darrin Skinner and I, flying as “Susie’s Spouses” remain undefeated in the Pacific Conference for Open Team Train. How can we not be undefeated? No one else is entering the competition! We’re also the current reigning AKA champions. Not bad for flying together just twice!

Official Berkeley Kite Festival website