Arts and Entertainment

Annual kite festival takes off this weekend in Coupeville

Members of Whidbey Island Kite Fliers are crossing their fingers for decent wind this weekend.

Why else? So they can fly kites.

The club is hosting its 13th annual Whidbey Island Kite Festival 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22 at Camp Casey Conference Center.

Festival coordinator Lisa Root said the event has something for just about everyone.

“We try to make something for all different types of fliers,” she said.

Activities include making children’s kites, mass ascensions, teddy bear drops, sport-kite competitions, lessons, food booths and more.

Competition includes dual and single line challenges including ballets — where fliers fly to music — and precision flying.

Someone who’s never flown a kite before can learn to fly different types of kites in a specially marked-off teaching area.

The precision kite flying team Island Quad, with members from British Columbia and Washington, will be performing again.

They entertain with interpretive movements to music while flying four-stringed Revolution Kites in a choreographed flight pattern.

This team has been flying at the festival for a number of years and are always fun to watch, Root said.

This year there will be a new local quad team flying for the first time at the festival. Whidbey Oddsquad was formed last year when fliers from the Whidbey area got together to learn to fly, then decided to form a team. It became their goal to fly at this year’s event. Some of the fliers had experience with quad-line kites and others were new to the Revolution kites. After many hours of flying in 40-to-50-plus degree weather, they have become comfortable with the kite and flying as a team in their choreographed routine.

Whidbey Oddsquad fliers are Lisa Root, Bud Root, Norvin “Stan” Stanley, Steve Dutcher and Mary Gaebler. People may have seen them practicing and having fun at Fort Casey or City Beach Park in Oak Harbor.

This is the club’s main fundraiser for the year. All the events are free, but there is a raffle which supports the club. Items in the raffle are mostly kite-related. Participants do not have to be present to win.

On Saturday evening, at 7:30 p.m., the Indoor Kite Competition takes place at the Coupeville High School gym.

Competitors fly the kites without wind using only their body and hand movements.

This entertaining and unique event continues to astound and surprise people each year, Root said.

Whidbey Island Kite Fliers meet for a “Fun Fly” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the third Saturday of the month, April to October at Fort Casey. All are welcome.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information and the schedule of events, visit the festival website www.whidbeykites.org

 

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