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Fort Macon State Park is open.  Although the fort itself is closed because of damage from Hurricane Florence.  The early report concerning the weekly community kite fly was encouraging but we couldn’t verify the information because we weren’t there.  Whereas kites are important, grandchildren are more important.  And our youngest granddaughter turned three.  There was no way we were going to miss the party.  As seems to be the rule, the day was perfect for kites and we were absent.  No doubt we will hear about it when we stop at the kite shop.

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The good news is the Carolina Kite Festival will go on as planned.  It will probably have a different “feel” than other years because of the hurricane recovery.  We have no idea how many participants can or will come nor what kind of accommodations will be available.  But there will be color in the sky and camaraderie on the sand.  Of that we can be sure.

Fair Winds All

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

The week following the Carolina Kite Festival is one of cleaning out kite bags, re-organizing kites and getting things stored away until the next festival.   It is also a time to rest and recharge from the intensity of two long days on the beach.  The first fun fly after a festival is usually a lightly attended one and this week it was no different.

And as usual, we were visited by “The Sunday Curse”.  The winds were light as we drove into the parking lot but we were prepared and had brought our light wind kites.  We got to the beach and had a few kites up and flying when the curse hit.  The wind completely died.  The flag above the fort wrapped itself around the pole and all kites drifted slowly to earth.  Now what do kite flyers do when the wind stops?  They sit around and solve the problems  of the world and ponder if they should just pack up and go home or not.

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We are diehard kite flyers and we waited.  The winds rose a little and some kites went back up.  One of the kites I struggled to fly was a Malay Diamond, “Sunset”, by Into The Wind.  My husband has the Sunrise Malay.  This kite was an anniversary present and I really wanted to get it up, even though I knew the winds were gong to be a little too light to give enough lift.  So I stubbornly persevered and got it to fly for a little while.

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“Sunset” Malay Diamond by Into The wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ultimately drove us off of the flying field was not the lack of wind but rain.  Quicker than we expected, clouds blew in and it began to rain.  Now getting a little wet is not a bad thing.  But having to pack up wet kites and then unpack and dry them when you get home is not fun.  There is never enough space to spread out a bunch of kites, kite bags, anchor bags and spools of kite line.

All is dry now and we’re looking forward to more fine fall days to put color in the sky.

Fair Winds All.

 

Our long and very pleasant stay with our daughter, grandson and very new granddaughter has come to an end.  We were sent home and told under no circumstances were we to miss the Carolina Kite Festival in Atlantic Beach, NC.  Our kite flying hiatus has come to an end in a very big way.  Two days of endless kite flying, old kiting friendships renewed and new kiting friendships made.

The Carolina Kite Festival was held this past weekend.  The temperatures were perfect and the winds were obliging most of the time.  Saturday’s winds were perfect in range though a little gusty.  Large inflatable kites were flying at one end of the beach all day.  There were mass ascensions of many types of kites and performances by the kiting celebrity guests and some local talent.

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The Bay Area Sundowners, a stunt kite performance team from San Francisco, CA, flew several routines with their trains of Hyperkites.  They are regular guests at the festival and people look forward to seeing them each year.  Big Al Sparling, another regular from Chicago, IL, came and flew the big kites.  The kids attending the festival decorated and flew small sled kites.  “Purple”, the pink playsail, made an appearance and was a hit.  And, of course, so was the candy drop.  The one of the highlights of the day was the flying of the ribbon kite.  This kite is 440 feet long and is the largest ribbon kite in the world.  It is handcrafted by Randy Tom, an internationally known kite maker.  A new guest to the festival was Dodd Gross,  a kite designer and a champion stunt kite flyer.  He gave stunt kite demonstrations and seminars.  Representatives from two kite companies were in attendance, Jim Christianson of Skydog Kites and Chris Schultz of HQ Kites.  Both flew kites from their respective companies.  It was a busy, busy day.  Lots of folks came to see the kites and many brought their own kites and joined in on the fun.  That was the key word for the day, FUN!

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Dodd Gross and the Low Wind Kiting Seminar

Dodd Gross and the Low Wind Kiting Seminar Attendees

Sunday started out a little disappointing.  There was no wind at all.  The ocean was glassy and the skies were partly cloudy.  Thankfully, kite flyers are an enterprising group and several got out their fighting kites and demonstrated how to fly with no wind.  Yes, it is possible.  As the morning went on, there came a breath of wind and we got the low wind kites out of the bags and put them in the air.  By noon, the winds had increased and become steady.  A perfect day for kites.

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Ribbon Kite

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Bay Area Sundowners

The big kites went up and the mass ascensions and performances began.  Two mass ascensions of note were the Sky Skimmers and the Kites Unlimited Revolutions.  Both of these kites are only available at Kites Unlimited kite shop in Atlantic Beach, NC.  The Sky Skimmers are made by Jeri Dixon, one of the owners of the shop.  The special black and white Revolution kite pattern are made specifically for the Kites Unlimited shop by Revolution Kites.  I should mention too that the Hyperkites the Sundowners flew are also only available at Kites Unlimited.  This is starting to sound like a commercial but I can’t help it.  Kites Unlimited is my favorite kite store and the main sponsor of the Carolina Kite Festival.  I hang out there way too much.

I did something at this festival that I had never done before.  I got out in the performance field and flew for the audience.  The wind had come up in the afternoon and was blowing steady down the beach.  I trained my two Kites Unlimited Revolutions, one full sail and one vented sail, and flew to some music that was playing at the time.  It was a spur of the moment thing and went pretty well.  It went so well I dug out some music of my own choosing and flew my progressive “Dream” stack.  I trained my Dream On stunt kite and my Little Dreamer stunt kite, both designed by Dodd Gross and sold by Skydog, and flew them to the song “Time In A Bottle” by Jim Croce.  I lost the wind once on a low pass but put them back up and finished the music.  It was fun and I think I’ll do it again sometime.  Maybe with a little more practice beforehand.

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So how do I sum up the weekend?  Long days, tiring but fun, Fun, FUN!!!!!  And that’s what kite flying is all about.

Fair Winds All.

 

It was pretty frustrating having no wind at the festival and then finding out that there was wind for the kite club fly at home.  So to make up for it, we went to the kite field more than usual this past week and a half.  The fact that the temperature moderated at a very comfortable level was a bonus.  It was so relaxing.

The winds were actually a little strong the first evening we went to fly.  I had just gotten the Brasington Central Station train and had yet to fly it.  So I put it and my Waif train up,  You will notice that the Waif train has five kites and the Central Station train has six.  Well, the Waif train I made at a Brasington kite building workshop and I have yet to finish it.  The sixth Waif is on the table waiting to be sewn.  Guess I had better get to it now.  John put up his Vertical Visions Malay kite.  I’m thinking of getting this same kite in the opposite color scheme.  It is so easy to fly and looks great.

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Vertical Visions Malay Kite by Into The Wind

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Brasington Central Station Train by Into The Wind

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Brasington Central Station and Waif Trains

The weekend arrived and it was time for the Carolina Kite Club fly.  Several of the Critter Kites by Skydog; the Wolf, the Tiger and the Bumblebee, flew as well as the Central Station train and the Vertical Visions Malay kite.  We also put up the Triton Kite.  This is a modified genki design which pulls like a tank.  It is a steady flying kite, even in the gusty winds we had that day.  This will be a good kite for lots of line laundry.  Especially I’m thinking our red wiggly worm and yellow little man.  Haven’t had them up in a long time.  There were a couple of new people who joined us to fly a stunt kite, a delta kite and the EO Atom by Prism Kites.

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Critter Kites by Skydog Kites

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Triton Kite by Into The Wind

Today was a day we just couldn’t pass up.  It was at least ten degrees cooler than the past few days and the winds were steady at a moderate 11-12 mph.  So when our errand were done, off we went to the beach.  We put up two of our own Critter kites and I practiced with one of my Revs.

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The Tiger and The Panda Critter Kites by Skydog Kites

It had been a while since I had flown the Custom B-Pros and this was the perfect day for a mid-vent.  I spent the time working on hovering and reverse diagonals.  Still haven’t figured out the inverse hover but I think it will come eventually.  There was practically no one on the beach which made for a very quiet, pleasant stay.  Then the sun began to go down and the park rangers wanted to close the gate.

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Custom B-Pro Mid-Vent Revolution Kite

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Yes, That’s Me and My Revolution

So now we’re home getting ready to go on the road and no telling when we’ll get to fly again.  Hopefully it won’t be too long.  It all depends on our new granddaughter.  She is due next week and we are pretty excited.  So until then…

Fair Winds All.

October 2018
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