February 4
Kites On Ice #5
Lake Monona

It is hard to believe that we've been coming to Wisconsin for five years now. But every February, we pack up the long underwear and snow boots for a fine time flying in Madison. A struggling economy and changes in the airline industry are having an affect on sponsorship. But "KOI" still managed to draw fliers from 20 states as well as France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Canada, and Israel.

Team No Limit Hampton Banners Valke Fish

The beauty of this event is not just the unique experience (ie craziness) of flying on a frozen lake. The nearby convention center hosts indoor flying, exhibits, school programs, and workshops. The result is a three ring circus that draws thousands of spectators.

Valke Flowers Shavit Bols GKPI Bear

Of course, with spectators comes concerns for public sensitivities. In one of the more foolish controversies of the weekend, the conference center manager ordered Gerard Clement's delightful Mermaid kite out of the sky. I guess they dress differently on the beach in France. Or maybe it was simply concern that she looked cold. In any event, the decision was rescinded on Sunday and the kite went back into the damp skies. (For a warmer view of the mermaid, click here or here.

Madison Mermaid Madison Mermaid

KOI concludes with an appropriately bizarre party at a local Bavarian dinner house. We dance the polka and then compete in the annual funny hat contest. Everyone lines up to display their cranial fashions and then the trophy is given to the flier with the best butt. At least that's what we're told.

Polka Susie Polka Al Swinging Scott Very Scary Pete and Jose

The ice was well over 18 inches thick this year so we had a solid platform for our flying show. Saturday was near perfect but Sunday turned damp. It was almost too warm for an Ice Flying Festival. Still we put on a show and then dragged our soggy fabric to the airport for the long trip home. If you are within driving distance, definitely plan on Kite On Ice next year. It is probably the most physically demanding show we do. But in many ways, it is also the most fun.

Oh -- one other thing...

We unveiled the GKPI Gecko in Madison. This is a Peter Lynn design in the 46 foot size which has been licensed to us for production. You can still get a New-Zealand-made Gecko for $2100 or one of our clones for just $1400.

Can you tell which is which?? We're taking orders now.

Gecko Stack

And watch for news about similar developments on the Bear, Cat, Ray and Octopus in the coming weeks.

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