After some discussion, we decided to broaden our scope and travel a little further to attend some kiting activities. From what I had seen online, Kitemania South seemed like just the gathering we would enjoy and it wasn’t too far to drive. So plans were made and off we went to Treasure Island, FL.
We arrived a day early in order to get our bearings and a little rest after the two-day drive. I did get out on the beach for some flying. Winds were light and gusty and the temperature was cooler than it should be. But I did get up a couple of kites. I was especially pleased that my mini-circoflex flew. I hadn’t had it out of the bag in quite some time. There were several other kite flyers taking advantage of the day. Several deltas and couple of large flowforms were in the sky also.
Saturday started out promising. I got out early and flew my Dream stack. It took a little work to find enough wind and I ended up quite a ways down the beach from our hotel. Like most resort beaches, the high-rise hotels and condos block any wind not coming off the ocean. It was a satisfying start to the weekend. Then the gray clouds moved in. Of course, the lack of sunshine does not stop kite flyers from doing their thing. Canopies were erected, banners set out and the kite flying began.
Unfortunately, the day did not continue in this fashion. Along with the colder temperatures came the rain. For most of the morning, the flyers huddled under the canopies, coming out to fly in between showers. But eventually the rain won and we all retreated to the covered patios to visit and exchange “feathers”.
Ah, yes, the “feathers”. An activity that was unique to this gathering is the exchange of “feathers”. Those attending this gathering create feathers out of ripstop nylon, tyvek, fabric, paper or anything that is at hand. The feathers are then traded as the weekend goes on. The trading brings old friends together and gets everyone actively involved in meeting new people. It almost becomes a competition to get as many feathers as possible from as many people as possible. The range of creativity is amazing. The feathers are sewn, glued, painted, dyed, printed and colored with markers. And are made in all shapes and sizes. A couple were even made out of actual feathers. Each feather has a story and will trigger memories of this gathering for a long time to come.
I made what I felt was a distinctly North Carolina feather, the Hatteras Lighthouse.
Then, after trading all weekend, I came home with around forty new feathers. And I’m already thinking about what I’ll be making for next year.
Thankfully, the rain stopped in the evening and there was some night flying. This included a ghost delta and some other deltas of varying sizes with programmable LEDs. They were beautiful. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any decent images. Just blurs of color in a black sky.
Sunday was windy. Very, very windy. Most of the kite flyers didn’t bring kites out because the wind was too strong. Us included. So the day was spent visiting and making the let of the feather trades. There were flyers who had kites that could handle the wind so all was not lost.
It was truly an enjoyable trip. We are planning on going back next year. And staying an extra day to get in some more flying and visiting. Here’s hoping the weather is more Florida-like than this year. That is sunny, warm and dry.
Fair Winds All.