Milton Indoor Kite Festival 2012

Toby Arndt in indoor kite competition

We’re just getting into the time of year where the nice days for kite flying are hit and miss.  So the thought of being able to fly inside where the climate is nicely controlled was great. This was the first year for the Milton Indoor Kite Festival put on by Faith Family Church in Milton WA. The church partnered up with the Pierce County Kite Fliers Association and Northwest Sport Kite League, then went to town. The main goal of the event was to have an indoor festival like no other. And after walking into the festival, most, if not ALL were blown away.

This 2 full day event was packed with kiting fun. Starting both days with free open gym time to just fly to the heart’s content, most drove just to have the opportunity to fly indoor with others and learn from each other during this time. Both Friday and Saturday there was kids kite making at the PCKA booth. Friday, Alexa King instructed a kite workshop for the adults who constructed the making of 20” gliders out of plastic garbage bags and bamboo. Saturday Jim Gates rocked the kite workshops with his own creation, a tissue paper and bamboo glider. Both workshops were a huge success with adults coming out of the workshop room with as big of smiles on their faces as the kids from their booth. The lobby of the church was a buzz of kite talk and smaller gliders flying using a space it seemed just for them.

There was so much kite craze in the lobby you almost could not get away from it, the atmosphere was filled with a used kite booth, the Pierce County Kite Fliers Association booth where they had the kid kite making along with information about the AKA and other great kiting programs. Herb, with Mainframe Kites was selling kites like only Herb can. I almost believe that if you didn’t walk in with a kite in your hands Herb made for sure you walked out with one. Walt from LS Custom Kite Accessories was there selling his custom handmade glass top kite stakes with holsters. I didn’t own one before this event but I walked out with 3, they are a must have. The church had their own full service coffee shop up and running for coffee, snacks or lunch both days. Oh and I forgot to mention the 3 large plasma TVs in the lobby playing kite training videos the entire weekend as well.

Now to get to the flying field.  Typically when you come to an indoor kite festival it is in a cold plain gym with nowhere to sit or stage, not here. It felt so warm and inviting. There were kites everywhere and not just flying, probably over 25 kites hanging on the walls, over the stage, hanging off of the basketball hoops (which were up and out of the way I might add) , kites just everywhere. And these were not just any kites, some production but lots of custom work by Alexa King including 2 National champions, a Bazzer Poulter “Bazzer eyes” Revolution and a Steve de Rooy Rokkaku. There were approximately 300 seats with a large enough space for one flyer to fly comfortably during a competition or demo. There was not a problem seeing anything as the demo and competitions were displayed live on 2 large projection screens in the gym.

Team FlyForm, the new indoor 3 person Revolution team which consist of John and TK Barresi and Spencer “Watty” Watson all from the Portland area and all from Team iQuad was there to perform their routine, it was a little tight on the floor for them and their kites tagged the speakers hanging over the floor a few times but WOW did they impress. If you have not seen them fly MAKE IT A POINT. Even watching them fly on line is nothing like in person.

The team was the first of several demos we saw on Friday night, people such as Toby Arndt, Scott Davis, Jerry Cannon and others all gave impressive demos that night.

Saturday was the big competition day. Again the competition started with demos from FlyForm, Paul De Bakker and Spencer Watson. I believe there were 16 competitors in 3 classes, Novice, Experienced and Masters. Competitors flew on a draw system and that worked out great because that talent was so diverse.

For me the highlight of the competition was defiantly Travis Reedy. Travis has only been flying for almost 2 months. Brand new to kiting, brand new to competition, and only 11 years old. This kid rocked! What else can you say, he got out there and was calm, collective, laid his lines out neatly and flew just beautifully almost as if he had done it for years. The pureness and professionalism he displayed in the situation has not been seen for some time, keep an eye out for him in the future.

Everyone in the competition did such a great job, again there were a lot of new competitors and lots of seasoned ones as well. I don’t know what I enjoy watching more, the seasoned pros or the new competitors, without the new fliers it makes it hard for this sport to go on.

Open Individual Indoor Unlimited results:

  1. John Barresi 81.70 (master)
  2. Scott Davis 75.32 (master)
  3. Toby Arndt 74.82 (master)
  4. TK Barresi 68.83 (experienced)
  5. Donna Wendt 68.22 (experienced)
  6. Richard Hurd 65.12 (experienced)
  7. Travis Ready 57.72 (novice)
  8. Dick Curran 57.53 (novice)
  9. Stephen Owen 52.68 (novice)
  10. Rosy Riffel 50.42 (novice)
  11. Sylvia Bernauer 46.32 (novice)

Competition staff:

  • Chief Judge – Jerry Cannon
  • Judge – Robert Wendt
  • Judge – William Hendrickson
  • Field Director – Marcia Cannon
  • Line Judge – Nicole O’Neill

The weekend ended with a challenge. Team FlyForm was performing their last demo of Saturday evening to finish the kite festivals main activities, as soon as FlyForm was finished, they were surprised to be asked for an encore. By the end of their 1st time doing their 3 min routine they were tired; completely drained for lack of better words after the 2nd time. Team members TK and Watty had to pick team member John off the floor after he laid down on the ground in exhaustion when they were finished. But boy was their routine 2 times in a row a sight to see (there has got to be a record somewhere for that?)

Videos can be found on my YouTube channel if you missed any of the event, we’ve sampled some of them here…




We would like to thank the following people for making this event a success:

Pierce County Kite Fliers Association

Northwest Sport Kite League

Herb, Mainframe Kites

Faith Family Church

John Barresi

TK Barresi

Spencer Watson

LS Custom Kite Accessories

Kent, A Wind Of Change

Scott Davis, Toby Arndt, Jerry Cannon, Alexa King, Jim Gates, Bob and Donna Wendt.

One of the neatest details about this event was that all proceeds were being given to a group of people from Faith Family Church going to the Dominican Republic on a mission’s trip later in 2012. The kiting community is such a generous gathering of people dedicated to helping, serving and reaching others. After the main festival events, the awards dinner and bag raffle were fun and exciting, lots of great items were donated. The coolest thing is the event raised over $500 after expenses from this event to give to the DR mission’s trip. Not bad for a first time event in my opinion. On behalf of the church, the team going to the DR and the people who will ultimately be effected by the generosity of the kiting community, thank you for your donations, big or small they are ALL appreciated.

Thanks to all who came, volunteered, taught, helped, bought or donated something, you know who you are.

Make plans for next year’s Milton Indoor Kite Festival 2013 (dates of event to be announced soon).