Ray's World Adventures 2001
20th Anniversary of the Washington State International Kite Festival 2001
Long Beach, Washington USA - August 20 - 26, 2001
Photos provided by Fred Adler
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The Washington State International Kite Festival is by far my favourite of all kite festivals. It has all the markings that are felt and seen in the biggest and best European kite festivals, and yet it has a very unique flavor all it's own. Once you have attended this festival one makes a point of returning again and again. I have so often heard it said the spectators and flyers alike plan their vacations to coincide with WSIKF.
Each year I make sure that this festival is the first to go on my schedule of events calendar. I have been returning every year since the early 1980's and I have had the pleasure of watching it grow to become one of the best and largest kite festival in North America. In 1999 at the Kite Trade International it was voted the best kite festival in the world. And believe it or not it could hold just about every kite festival in North America at the same time on its 35 miles of beach.
Over the years it has featured some of the best kite builders and flyers on this planet. This years guests just to name a few included Peter Lynn and Anne Whitehead from New Zealand, and Jos and Kaatje Valcke from Belgium with all their beautiful creations, and who I am very proud to say that we have shared many kite festivals flying fields in Europe. In fact, just a couple of months ago in Narbonne France, Jos was asking me all kinds of questions about Long Beach as he was so very excited about going.
Performing for the first time at WSIKF were the famous Bay Area Sundowners from San Francisco, who held the thousands of spectators spell bound with their awesome routines throughout the 7 day festival. As always, it was a great honor to once again share the demonstration arena with this very talented Team.
I don't know how many people noticed a very talented Rev flyer who flew all day, every day amazing the kite flyers and the great crowds that were always gathered around him. He was not an invited guest, but came to the US and Canada on vacation with his wife and family, and WSIKF was on the top of his list to attend. His name is Felix Motram -- one of the original members of the famous Team Decorators from the UK, and if you ever get a chance to see this Team perform don't miss it, they are indeed the best Rev Team on this planet. The Decs have been one of the main attractions at the Kites on Ice International kite festival in Madison and will be performing again for the forth year in a row next February.
Long Beach has so many events going plus all kinds of fun competitions it is hard to keep track of every thing that is going on. Always a great crowd pleaser is the Rokkaku Challenge. Sometimes to me it is more like an Australian Rules football match only using a kite instead of a ball. The spectators just lap it up and "so do the contestants"!
I was not going to mention that we had two days of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, but I heard that it was specially planned (how do they do that?), to allow everyone a chance to socialize and catch up old friends, share ideas, learn new things, show off all their new creations, plus having a few cold ones together. There was no chance to do any of that for the rest of the week as every one was to busy doing their thing.
Thursday was a beautiful sunny day but the wind was blowing 25-30mph, I was in my glory! I flew all day and loved every minute. I love the challenge, and it is indeed a challenge flying multiple full size kites simultaneously in those strong winds, you have so many things to think about, especially executing intricate maneuvers while literary being pulled down the beach. Your timing must be right on the money. It is very hard to explain the feeling I get while setting the kites up in to a refuel, then after achieving this mode, into a double loop, then fly to the centre of the wind window just inches above the sand, then turn straight up into the full power zone then at the very last minute break off into my Crucifix maneuver. The kites travelling like bats out of hell only to come to a full stop and hover at the extreme edge of both sides of the wind window, with the centre kite hovering dead centre 130 feet above my head. And the most exciting thing is to have it all come together while running down the beach at full gallop. Some one remarked "Hey Ray! That is one way of sorting the men from the boys!"
Friday, Saturday and Sunday was awesome especially for the single line flyers. The wind was perfect. It looked like every kite that was brought to this festival was in the air, the sky above the festival was over flowing with kites of every description, showing off every colour in the rainbow. It was indeed a photographers dream, spectators were there by the tens of thousands enjoying every aspect of this very special Long Beach 20th anniversary International Kite Festival.
At 2pm on Friday my friend of many years "Dan The Man" Nordgaard and his lovely bride Barbara Welch both of Seattle WA, were married on the beach under a perfect blue sky which was decorated literary with hundreds and hundreds of single line kites of every description and colour, what a magnificent and beautiful setting for a kite flyers Wedding, after the wedding they were brought in to the main demonstration arena and introduced to the thousands of spectators , they were deeply touch as it added something even more special on there already very special day, I then flew a Multiple Kite Ballet in there honour,( this is my 3rd wedding that I have been invited to, also to fly a multiple kite ballet on the beach at Long Beach.) The reception dinner was held later at the Salmon BBQ Marquee.
Congratulations to the organizers, the sponsors and all the wonderful volunteers that put it all together and once again made it happen. I have already marked my schedule calendar for the year 2002. I would also like to express my thanks to my Team Crew Fred and Gerri Adler for helping me to set up for Multiple kite demonstrations, also my good friends the Bay Area Sundowners for field crewing for me. "Good Stuff"
Thank you for listening.
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