On this past Labor Day the Mile High Kite Festival was held on Beech Mountain, NC. This is a festival we never miss. First, because we get to see some kite friends that we don’t see more than once or twice a year and, second, because we get to the mountains for the long weekend. (And get away from the mad tourist surge at the beach.) This year was a very unusual kite fly. There was wind. At times, too much wind. The sun shone the whole weekend and the temperature was perfect. However, the wind was gusting into the twenties. Because we fly on the side of a steep hill at the top of the mountain, kites are seldom anchored and left to fly on their own. This was a good thing as no kites were lost to the extreme gusts. The banners that were put out to decorate the flying field took a beating. And some of the vendors tents as well.
This year I flew more kites and took less pictures. Probably a result of having wind. I got my two latest kite builds in the air; the 3do and the Stretch Tucker parafoil. Both of these were online workshops as the in-person workshops were canceled this year. The parafoil flew like a champ. The 3do needs some extra tweeking. Not unusual for a new build. I didn’t realize it until just now that both of my latest applique designs were Oriental themed. Other kites made it out of the bag off and on all weekend. That’s a lot for me to fly on the mountain. Unfortunately, there was no kite builders competition this year. Maybe because I was the only kite builder to bring something. So, by default, I awarded myself “Best In Show”.
After sitting home for a year because of the pandemic, walking up and down the hill was quite strenuous. You never realize the effect of inactivity until you’re inactive for a period of time and then try to pick up where you left off. We stay an extra day after the festival to sight see a little, maybe fly our kites a little and avoid the holiday traffic. This year we mostly napped. We did find a new coffee shop which also had great pastries. I can only hope they stay open and are there next year.
That’s about it for now. Stay tuned for more updates and latest kite flying news.
I has been over a year since I’ve told any tales about our kite flying. There are various reasons – the pandemic kept us closer to home, the weather didn’t cooperate, had other things to keep me occupied and I was just too lazy to sit done and write. So I’m going to try and pick it up again. Especially as the kiting activities have started up after over a year of cancellations.
Now where to start…
I will start with one of the more exciting things. At least, more exciting to me. I have added some kites to my collections of White Bird dragon kites. A kite club in another state was having their annual fund raising kite auction. There were a number of White Bird kites up for auction as the club had been gifted with a departed kite flyer’s collection. A friend of mine agreed to be my proxy at the auction. After much time on the computer, I became the proud owner of four White Bird dragons.
When the box arrived, my living room became overrun with nylon. All were signed and dated. The Harlequin is a 150 foot dragon from 1994. The Rainbow is a 150 foot dragon from 1995. The Sun King is a 55 foot dragon dated 1988. And the Cloud Dragon is a 55 foot dragon dated 2001. After a few weeks, I did have a day with enough wind to gt them in the air. And some day I hope to be able to fly all four of my 150′ dragons at once. My ultimate dream is to fly all my White Bird dragons at the same time. But looking through my kite bag, I do not have enough lines or sand bags to accomplish that feat. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
That’s all for now. I hope to be able to do more catching up in the next few days and have more kiting adventures to write about.
Lately our days have been filled with helping friends at the local kite shop. Last week we took an afternoon off to fly some kites and rest. We gathered up all our rokkaku kites and were going to have a theme fly. The wind was in the low teens and the temperature was warm but not too hot. Perfect.
We got two vintage rokkakus up and anchored and were putting together a third when a squall blow up off the ocean. Got the kite we were working on back in the bag so it wouldn’t get too wet and only then realized how high the wind had picked up, upwards of twenty-five to thirty miles per hour. What made us aware of the wind was our two sand anchors whizzing by our heads. The rokkakus took off in the high winds and lifted the anchors off the ground. There was a mad dash to grab kite lines and spools and keep the kites from going completely out of sight. Needless to say, there were some nasty line burns and cuts on our hands.
One kite ran into the side of the condominium, lost its lift and slid to the ground. So far, so good. It wasn’t going anywhere. The other was going to be our problem child. It lifted the anchor close to twenty feet in the air and way above the dunes. Then the anchor caught in a tree beside a neighboring beach house. Yes, you read right. The anchor caught in the tree. The kite was flying high above the house and out of reach.
Luckily, the resident of the beach house were there and were able to help get the anchor out of the tree. We tied the kite to a pole and released the anchor. Then neighbor brought the anchor to the back to the beach where we re-anchored the kite and walked it down. These neighbors really went beyond norm in helping retrieve the kite and I’m sure they will be talking about it for a long time to come.
Needless to say, we were done flying kites that afternoon. Maybe soon we will get the chance to fly the rokkakus again.
The weekly community kite fly was another matter. There was no wind that day. Not to mention it was hot. Tried to fly two different low wind kites; the Laima and the Skate. Both needed constant supervision to remain in the air. It just wasn’t worth the effort and the kite fly was cut short.
I’ve gotten behind in writing this blog. The weather was not cooperating and there have been other activities which have kept us from the beaches. The last day we flew was Memorial Day. Fort Macon State Park had finally opened so there was the weekly community kite fly on the holiday weekend. And it was a busy weekend. The park was crowded which made the kite fly somewhat of a challenge. More fishermen, more sun bathers and more people walking along the shore. This gave us a greater audience to view the kites but it also cut down on the space to fly.
Because of the holiday, we chose to only fly red-white-blue kites. And we only carried a couple as our kite cart is still in need of repair. We put up the handmade Painless Parafoil and our new Killip foil.
For the first time in a long time, I brought out a dual line stunt kite. The red-white-blue Window NG. I had forgotten that noise that this kite can make as it circles in the sky. It drew a lot of looks and comments. Especially with the twenty-five foot tube tail following behind.
I particularly enjoyed flying the Painless Parafoil as it is one of the first kites I had built. Although few people who see it recognize the stylized eagle I appliquéd on the bottom panel. The creator of the Painless Parafoil, Stretch Tucker, was supposed to give a workshop this summer in Pennsylvania but, in light of current events, he is unable come. However, I have his plans for the Flowform 16 and will be starting that kite soon. And, if I’m lucky, I will still be able to attend the workshop and finish the construction there.
The weather is not looking good for a community kite fly this weekend. So, for now, I will have to clean up the kite room and begin planning for the Flowform.