Rockaway Kite Festival
August 23 - 24, 2003



I was looking forward to this festival. I had a great time last year, and was counting on the same thing this year. The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and Sky Festival Productions put in a lot of work organizing this festival, and it shows.

I was concerned that the front desk of the motel would close before I got there as my flight arrived a couple of hours late on Friday evening and the motel sounded like a small family place. I called Roger Chewning on his cell phone and he somehow kept from laughing when he said that the desk would be open late. I was still clueless when I checked in. In fact I asked if they had a luggage cart. They did not. It finally dawned on me just what most of this motel's customers were up to when I turned on the tv and stumbled across the free porn channel. They did not have a luggage cart because most of their customers did not have any luggage. Heck, most of the women did not even have purses!

The hotel looked like a nice, normal lodging establishment, maybe the bullet proof glass at the front desk or the posted rate for a five hour stay should have tipped me off. By the way, just to be perfectly clear. Those are KITEFLIERS in front of the hotel.

The hotel staff did try and be helpful to these strange guests that they had. When presented with the odd request for a washcloth, they tore a towel up into four pieces for one of the kitefliers.

Someone else trying to be helpful, reconfigured our coat hanger antenna into a different configuration each morning. Might the culprit be lurking behind the van?

After watching the limos pick up the working girls in the morning, we headed out to the field. Ron and Sandy Gibian, Jose Sainz, Iqbal Husain, JoAnn Weber and I were invited guests, and we were ready to put on a show. We waited out the morning doldrums and soon we had wind. The beach at Rockaway came alive with kites big and small.

I must apologize to the sport kite fliers, they also had a sport kite competition here. However, once I put my kites up, I see little else but the single line field, I can not say much about the event. From my vantage point all I saw were sport kites as they made it to the top of their window.

However, I did see many wonderful single line creations, such as this piece by Jose Sainz. Jose makes some of my favorite small(er) kites.

He also flew this piece that just happens to be the Grand National Champion!

Another apology has to go out to JoAnn Weber, I don't have a single picture of her kites that is in focus! Sorry to all of the readers too, they were wonderful kites.

Pete Dolphin flew a great train of Pyro Deltas which lifter a large American Flag. It was very well received by this particular audience.

Pete also flew his ever popular Moon. I love these kites, I just hate the number of spars. I think that I will leave these to Pete. A slight lack of kite building skill on my part also enters into this decision. ;-)

While we are on the subject of Pete Dolphin, I know what is going on in this picture, but the reality is too boring for this image. Let me know your ideas as to what Pete is doing, if we get any wildly improper ideas, I will print them out with the picture and post it at Convention.

Ron and Sandy Gibian brought their wonderful art kites. Here you see them up close prior to launch

Sandy decided to model the bow from a fruit basket. It was getting quite hot out, that might explain it.

Beatrix Pelton spent part of the day flying Iqbal's Hamburger and fries centipede. It was pointed out that she was the best looking kite anchor on the field. Beatrix actually spent most of her time helping the event.

And then there were my kites. The Octopus and Trilobite flew well until a big gust arrived to scare the life out of me. The gust lifted the sand anchors for the Octopus out of their holes and the kite and anchors proceeded to head for the sunbathers and the water. Fortunately, Roger Chewning had the field ringed with rope, not safety tape. The anchors tangled with the rope. Unfortunately, the Octopus started pulling fence posts out out the sand and I started to visualize people getting whacked with fence posts as the Octopus went out to sea. Several of us caught up with the anchors at this point and managed to stabilize thing and get both big kites down. After I stopped shaking, we added more anchors and put the Octopus back up. The only damage for the day is a small hole in the octopus and my nerves. I have never had anything like this happen before, and I never want it to happen again

Many thanks to Paul Keeler, Glen Bachman, Pauli Berard, Jose Sainz, Ron Gibian and many others who helped.

My kites did fly for most of both days without incident.

Trilo Stack On Sunday I was joined by Gary Engvall and we stacked our Trilobites.

The Lehigh Valley Kite Society helped me all weekend, from the near disaster with the octopus, to lugging bags and digging holes and everything in between. Thanks again to these generous people.

And they flew some big stuff themselves. Here, although it is hard to tell scale in this image, is a really big FlowForm. It flew most of the weekend lifting a variety of laundry.

It seems appropriate to end this report with an image of the first big kite up on Sunday morning. It was Roger Chewning showing us all up in the light winds with his Jordon AirForm. It did not stay up long, but it filled the sky in the light morning winds.

Home | Show Kites | Videos | Photos | Schedule | Conditions | Bio | Contact

Last Updated: 08/04/03
Webmaster: Alan Sparling