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Ray's World Adventures 2003

Fête du Vent
Marseille International Festival of the Wind

Marseilles, France - 2003

Wow!! What a great way to close off my kite season with two awesome world class International kite festivals it was a great pleasure for me to be once again fully sponsored to Marseille for the Fete du Vent festival. 28 counties were participating from every corner of this planet, I had met most of the attendees at other festivals around the world. It was great once again to share the flying fields with these unique flyers who are so willing to share their knowledge and expertise to whoever asks, and giving their all to help make this festival a huge success -- which indeed it was from the very start to the very last minute.

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As always it is held at the Plage du Prado which is an ideal location. A huge grass area runs parallel along the beach and is more than large enough to accommodate all the flyers for doing their thing, consequently, the sky was always packed with kites of every color and description. There was also a 400x400 meter arena for demonstrations, in which some of the worlds finest fighter kiters showed off there skills. Sport kite teams and individuals were giving demonstrations in the arena through out each and every day.

In the mornings the wind was very light and would come from inland, but at 11:30 AM the wind would change and come off of the ocean. There was never a shortage of spectators as they are there in there tens of thousands, and are as always a very appreciating audience -- and not a bit shy in calling you over after completing a demonstration to thank you personally with a kiss on both cheeks (I just love this French custom).

Marseilles is such a charming spot with a very nice beach -- the sand is a mixture of very powdery and coarse sand and each day brings literally hundreds of sun worshipers to the beach, the South of France is well noted for its topless sunbathers which I was not aware of and did not even notice until a certain kite notable pointed them out to me. As I was too busy looking at all the beautiful French girls in their awesome summer outfits -- I still can't figure out if they are inside trying to get out or if they are outside trying to get in!

What I enjoyed also at this festival was the way they arranged all the booths in a kind of little village with all the booths in a large circle, and the opening facing on the inside it was always packed especially when the festival was open for schools, the kite making booths were always packed with children of all ages, and to see these children flying there own individual works of art everywhere on the festival site was very heart warming.

One very interesting booth was a historical kite museum put on by Christian Kolz from Hamburg Germany, he was also at the Frejus International Kite festival in Nov along with his partner Christian Jsemer. Some of the kites on exhibit dated back to the early 1900's. The display was enjoyed by kite flyers and spectators alike.

The festival had a great sound system, with commentators keeping the spectators (who were standing shoulder to shoulder around the huge flying arena) well informed of what was going on at all times. As always, the days passes so quickly and before you realize it, it's time to pack up and return to the hotel for that well earned shower and a couple of cold ones before the evening dinner (or it was a couple of cold ones and then a shower). All of the flyers were lodged at the Maeva Hotel, which is within walking distance to the beach and festival. We were all well wined and dined by our accomodating hosts.

As I have mentioned before in my other articles, Marseille is a very beautiful and romantic 2,600 year old city. With its exceptional setting between the mountains and blue Mediterranean, in some parts of the city it is like going back in time before the automobile with it's very narrow winding streets. If there's one thing I did learn was that never again will I complain about the traffic in Vancouver.

As always, I could go on for hours but I have a deadline to make with this article. Thank you to festival organizers, Jose Vicent and Frederque Riquier, and all the wonderful volunteers. I must not forget to thank to all the sponsors who make it possible to invite all of us to this great world class kite festival. Thank you again and I will see you at the Frejus International Kite festival in November.

Thank you for listening,

Ray




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