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Ray's World Adventures 2001

XXI Cervia International Kite Festival 2001
Cervia, Italy - April 21 - 27, 2001

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 Claudio and Caterina CappelliWow!! What a great start to this seasons fully sponsored International Kite Festivals. In February, the once again, huge successful International Kite Festival, Kites on Ice in Madison, in March, the Super 15th Berck Sur-Mer International Kite Festival in France, (which I will write about in my next Ray's Adventures article) and to top them off I have just returned from the Awesome XXI Cervia International Kite Festival 2001 in Italy, can it get better than this? Well, I will tell you after my next trip that will be on the 23rd of May to the great and wonderful Narbonne International Kite Festival in France.

 Activities on the beach The Cervia International Kite festival has been going for the last 21 years and each time it just gets bigger and better. It is two weeks of festival magic. The organizer, Claudio Cappelli with the aid of his beautiful daughter Caterina, plus all those wonderful volunteers, did a super job of organizing this festival which is no easy task as this is a world kite festival at its finest. It's one of the biggest in Europe staring international guests from Malaysia, Australia, Israel, England, Pakistan, Sweden, USA, Canada, NZ, Japan, Germany, Belgian, France, Lithuania. Plus kite flyers from all over Italy.

 A creation from Team No Limit I arrived at Milano Malpensa airport at 3pm right on schedule, and was met by Don Mock who took me to the meeting area where other International kite flyers had already arrived. I have met most of them at other International kite festivals around the world. It was another 4-hour wait before the last International guest arrived. Cervia is about a 4-hour bus trip from the airport. We arrived at the Mare e Vita Hotel where we were all staying at 1am. We were pretty tired, but soon woke up as all the flyers that had already arrived earlier in the day came running out to greet each and every one of us like long lost brothers -- hearty hand shakes, hugs, and slaps on backs. It was indeed an overwhelming welcome. This is another part of kiting that can not be imitated or copied -- the genuine fellowship that we feel for each other in every respect regardless of nationality. Each one of us has been invited, in a way, to do a job to the best of our ability and we rely on each other to help make each kite festival we attend a huge success. I am very proud to be part of the elite team of individual kite flyers from around the world.

 Team No Limit Cervia, with its great beach is rated one of the most modern holiday resorts in Italy. It is also ideal for an active holiday, including wind and kite surfing, water skiing, bike riding, golf, tennis, etc. You name it they have it for the lovers of physical fitness and well-being.

The festival is held on part of the nine kilometer beach of fine sand which is firm enough to hold a ground stake with out the fear of it being dragged out. I was on the beach just after 8:00am every day and flew until 6:30pm. The wind came from inland early in the morning on most days, then around 10:30am would turn around and come off the ocean. By 11:00am the sky was one mass of kites of every description -- beautiful designs and every color imaginable. There was hardly a place in the sky to put another kite. I managed to find a spot where I could fly all day, right off the edge of the water and the kite festivals boundary line, but some times it was like playing Russian roulette, dodging the single line kites in front of me and watching out for the Kite surfers and the buggy flyers behind me with their massive traction kites. I did get caught a few times and ended up at the end of the festival with 18 cut lines and a few broken sparsL. It is funny, no matter what festival I attend I always come away with learning a lot of new words. Even in Italian!

 Andy's Kite There were so many kites in the air that it was literally impossible to put on a sport kite demonstration in the demonstration arena until late afternoon when some of the huge kites were being taken down.

The was never any shortage of spectators, especially on both weekends, when it was wall-to-wall people. I found the Italian spectators a very appreciative audience, and they were not at all shy in asking to have their photo taken with me or asking me to sign their kite or programs (which by the way, was beautifully designed in full color). Every one commented on the great music system that was done professionally by HIFI Video Music Center from Faenza - at some moments I could feel the beat of the music through the vibrations. When I performed my multiple kite ballet, George Peters volunteered to be my music man, giving me hand cues (like an orchestra conductor) of the music I was flying to. Thanks George.

There were two very successful night flies with great wind that took the night fly way past the scheduled closing time, and again the sky was one mass of kites that entertained the masses that came to watch. I am always amazed at how they manage to pack those huge single line kites into those small bags in the dark. I would like to mention a little here about the 7 man Team No Limit from Germany. I have never seen a team work so hard, bringing all there gear on to the beach each morning and packing it all up again at the end of the day, and then once again lugging all there kites, etc from the beach back to the storage container. It is not just one but literally dozens of huge kites, plus all the equipment. They put on an awesome display of kites every day of the festival, which has to be seen to be appreciated. No wonder this Team is in great demand at festivals throughout Europe. They were also a great hit at each of the Kites on Ice festivals in Madison, Wisconsin USA.

 Beach Party After the festival each day it was a rush to get back to the Mare e Vita for a shower before eating a well-deserved dinner. I have never been a pasta fan, but I was so hungry I could have eaten a horse. After the evening meal everyone got together in the Bar room for fun, chatting, and dancing. It was like a New Years Party every night, and a few times the Italian kite flyers with their wives and families would put on a cheese and wine party that everyone enjoyed. A few nights before the end of the festival I was invited by the members and friends of Team No Limit to a Beach Party that was a party to remember. Singing, dancing and drinking around a huge bon fire on a beautiful warm starlight evening or should I say morning. Like I said, these guys work hard but play even harder.

 Ray with Caterina I must add that two great guided tours were arranged to visit a couple of historical towns, the City of Cessna and the Republic of San Marino. The tours included an interpreter/guide and the towns provided food for lunch. Everyone that went on the tour had a really great time and enjoyed seeing another part of Italy.

Again I could literally go on for hours writing about my reminisces on my Cervia Adventure, but it is time to thank all the sponsors who's contributions have made it possible for myself and many others to be sponsored to this unique world class International kite festival, thank you Claudio and Caterina Cappelli and your great volunteers, Mr. Music, and all the spectators and citizens of Cervia that made us all so very welcome to your City.

Thank you for listening.

Ray

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