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Ray's World Adventures 1999

UK Adventure (Part One)
Sunderland International Kite Festival - July 3-4 1999

 Ray I have often read how great the Sunderland Kite Festival is, and this year I had the good fortune to experience it firsthand. I was sponsored by Malcolm Goodman, who, by the way, had invited me before but his festival dates always clashed with my other committed invitations. The Brighton International Kite Festival was to take place a week later. My friend Ray Oakhill, who is the organizer of the Brighton Festival, met me at Heathrow Airport. I spent two great days with him and his wife Doreen at their home in Brighton. Then Barry Pitman and I took the 9 hour bus trip to Newcastle where we were met by Lloyd Berriman who was going to be my official babysitter. I might add also for all the other international guests: If you are looking for? fun? laughter? and a frolicking good time?you will not find it on the 9 hour bus trip from Brighton to Newcastle.

Lloyd drove us to the hotel where all the kiters were staying. It was great seeing so many old friends, some I had just shared a flying field with a few weeks prior in another part of the world. It is indeed a very small world! It is always a pleasure meeting other flyers whom you have never met before. Malcolm was there to greet us and to fill us in on what was going down. Ready for the next morning's meeting with the news media etc., Malcolm was very concerned about the weather forecast as it had rained at last year's festival. I put my arm around him and, put his head on my shoulder, and I said, "No worry, mate. At 9 a.m. in the morning the sun will shine and keep shining for the whole festival. He looked up at me with a big smile on his face and replied, "Could I have that in writing?" Sure enough, at 9:15 a.m. - okay, I was out by 15 minutes; no one is perfect -- the sun came out and we were blessed with good weather throughout the festival, except for a two minute tiny shower on the last day, just before the end of the festival.

The festival exceeded everything I had heard and read. It was exceptionally well organised; everything ran so smoothly. There was plenty of room for all the flyers to do their thing, entertaining the thousands of spectators every minute throughout each day. And the real beauty of it was that there was no one running around giving orders or telling flyers what to do, everyone seemed to know. And I really liked the harmony in the way all the flyers worked together to help make sure the festival was a huge success, and it certainly was. For me it was a real pleasure to see and to feel the respect all the flyers had for each other. I was greeted warmly wherever I went. Now, Malcolm, the cat is out the bag. I know your secret, why your festival is a world class event !!! With the flyers and all those wonderful volunteers working together as a team, you have the right combination for an outstanding kite festival.

Great Chicken

Each day the sky was filled with beautiful kites: a rainbow of colour, Chinese dragons, animals, birds, Japanese kites of every description, box kites, rokkakus, fighter kites, 2, 3, and 4-line sport kites etc. They were flown by some of the world's best kite flyers and kitemakers, some coming as far away as India, Indonesia, China, Canada, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, plus flyers from all over the UK.

There was something for everyone to watch: great demonstrations from teams, individuals, kite buggying, rokkaku battles, fighter kite battles, and always a great favorite for kids from 1 year old to 90 plus, the parachuting teddy bears. Outside of the flying arenas there were huge marquees selling affordable arts and crafts, a children's village, face painting, kite making, fairground rides, storytelling and so much more to delight all ages of children. For the adults, Folkworks presented an international music program featuring sounds from around the world, bands, singers, and dancers, plus an array of street performers who were hilarious to say the least, especially the wacky Aussie police on Emus.

 Ray and Jeanette Goodman This was a festival at its finest. Congratulations to the City of Sunderland and Malcolm Goodman for an awesome festival. On behalf of all the international flyers I would like to thank you and your lovely wife Jeanette for the great evening we all shared together at your home, and the excellent food, wine and beer. One of the highlights was watching my good friend Mikio Toki from Japan packing away the chicken legs. He must have eaten four big legs on top of everything else. I don't know where he put it all! Mind you, I must say the 6 pieces of chicken I had were delicious.It was a great evening! The other highlight was spending time in your kite and computer room or I should say kite museum; it is by far the best private collection I have ever seen. You must be very proud.

Thank you Malcolm for your sponsorship. I had a terrific time and your festival was a huge success and I hope that in some small way I was able to add something to help make it so. And many thanks to all the kite flyers and those wonderful volunteers that made me feel so very welcome. Good Stuff!

Thank you for listening.

Ray.




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