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We finally made it to a local community kite fly.  The winds were low to moderate which made it hard to decide what kites to haul down to the beach.  As we get older, we find ourselves only picking two or three kites to fly and not pulling the cart with a ton of stuff.   Most times we make the right picks but sometimes we don’t have the right stuff and have to decide whether to walk back to the truck and change kites or not.  This day we picked kites that would fly at least for a while.  Until the wind died completely.

Weather-wise it was a great day to sit on the beach and watch the waves, the birds, the boats and, of course, the kites.  Temperature was comfortable with a hoodie and there was sunshine, blessed sunshine.  Just a small group of the regular flyers were there.  So relaxing.

I did put up my kite show kit.  I love how I can handle the lifter and all the associated line laundry by myself.  The lower winds actually added a new aspect to the kite show.  The crab was often just barely above the ground, so it looked like he was scuttling across the sand instead of flying above it.  I also flew a new delta kite.  Really wanted to put the tube tails on it but the wind was not quite strong enough.

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Some of the serious stunt kite flyers may take offense but there are times when it is just seems like too much work to put out the lines and assemble a stunt kite.  This was one of those days.  The quad line kite stayed in the bag.  Instead time was spent visiting.

Hopefully we will have the chance to fly on Thanksgiving Day before feasting.  We will see.

Fair Winds All

 

After the busyness of kite building and kite festivals, we took a week off and went on a vacation.  This meant we missed the usual community kite fly last Sunday.  Turns out it was canceled due to cold weather and high winds (which made it even colder).  However, we took a number of kites with us to fly on the beach at Myrtle Beach, SC.  The weather didn’t cooperate much better there.

We had a couple of days of rain.  In between there were days of low temperature and very high winds.  Yes, I wimped out and stayed indoors on those days.  Then there were the sunny days with very low winds or moderate winds being blocked from the beach by the condominiums.  And the condominiums line the beach from one end to another.  So frustrating.

Yet, we tried.  Got out the light wind bag and pulled out several kites.  The Skate would go up and then glide gracefully back to the ground.  The Dunton-Taylor box flew the best but would over-fly in a gust and do a nose plant in the sand.  The Dunton-Taylor box with banner tail did not over fly but did mimic the Skate and glide down shortly after launch.  So much for flying on this vacation.

All was not lost, however.  On those rainy days we went to the local kite shop, Klig’s Kites in North Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Be prepared to get a crick in your neck as I’ve never seen so many kites hung from the ceiling and the walls as there are at this shop.  We had a great visit with Lauren while we were there.  She is very knowledge about kites, fun to visit with, had some places and people in common with us and doesn’t mind at all when she has to use a ladder to get a kite down that you are going to purchase.  In fact, she had to use the ladder several times during our visit.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending time there and are looking forward to our next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so until the next time we fly (which we hope will be soon)

Fair Winds All

 

 

This past weekend was the 31st Carolina Kite Festival at the Sands Villa Resort in Atlantic Beach, NC.  This festival is sponsored by my local kite shop, Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc., also found in Atlantic Beach, NC.  We had no idea how this one would be attended as Hurricane Florence hit us hard and many people are out of work and out of their homes.  Also, many of the hotels and condo units were damaged which made accommodations in the area harder to find.  But it didn’t deter most of our regular out-of-town flyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend started with very high winds and chilly temperatures.  It rained the Friday before and was cloudy most of the day Saturday.  The winds kept a lot of the attendees from flying their single line kites as no one wanted to have a broken kite.  Luckily, the winds were blowing steady down the beach which made it much better for the large kites to fly.  And there was a grand show of large kites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weatherman was both right and wrong about the weather on Sunday.  The sky cleared and the sun came out which warmed up the afternoon.  But the winds never let up, came across the buildings along the beach and became more turbulent.  Fewer big kites were flown.  But there were more people with their single line kites out on the field.

A couple of our special guests this year were Ray Wong and Randy Tom.  Both are makers of art kites and hail from California.  And both brought kites to be sold at the kite shop..  Photos of their kites are on the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page.

The Bay Area Sundowners Kite Team came from San Fransisco to perform both days.  They are always a joy to watch.  They perform routines flying stacks of thirteen hyperkites in red, white and blue.  Many spectators come year after year to see them perform.  Saturday’s wind was a little too high but they gave it a try anyway and did a good job.  The slighter winds on Sunday were better and the team flew a couple different routines throughout the day.

On the third kite field, the stunt kites were flown.  Dual line and quad line stunt kites were in the air as the wind and the whim of the flyers allowed.  Along with all the flying, there was a kids’ kite building table for children to decorate and assemble a small sled kite and a candy drop from a high-flying delta kite.  A few brave souls even went out on the beach Saturday night to fly their kites with lights on them.  I emphasize “brave” as it was very cold after the sun went down.

Although it seems that I spent most of my time running around with my camera photographing the event, I did get to fly a couple of my single line kites, a friend’s quad line kite and visit with kite flyers I hadn’t seen in quite some time.  The festival was deemed a success and plans are already in the works for next year’s event.  For more pictures and some video from the festival, check out the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page (Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc.).

Fair Winds All

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.

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