March 9
76 Years and Counting

Zilker Panorama

It was a gusty, bouncy, blustery, put-them-up, crash them, untangle them, launch-them-again day in Austin. But the sun was shining and the crowds were happy and we had plenty of good help and a well secured, safe flying area. And no one was killed or even hurt. So you'd have to say that Zilker was a fine Texas-style success!

Gecko Mania

This was our sixth trip to Zilker Park. That means we missed the first seventy festivals there. And if an event has managed to run seventy-six years in a row, it has to be doing something right.

I particularly like the fact that people bring their kids out, just like their parents brought them out a generation before.

The GKPI show is supposed to anchor one of the three primary fields. (The other two are for competition and for demonstrations.) We carried six large bags of gear out from Oregon and were a bit worried with the news that winds in the 20-30 range were expected. Fortunately, we had Richard Wells, Rich Hawkins, Charlie Cullen, Rob Cembalest and Mark Burke all on hand to help out. That made a big difference when the monsters needed to be untangled and relaunched.

Gecko Mania Gecko Mania Gecko Mania

We heard that Zilker was dealing with a local endangered salamander. And that's all it took to load the show with Geckos, Lizards and our new Spotted Salamander. The show included the giant Gecko the largest and hardest pulling kite in the Peter Lynn stable.

We also launched the big Cat, the Penguin, and even the Blue Meanie. But it was definitely the Geckos that store the show.

Cat and Peng Cat over Crowd Meanie Mania

Sometimes I worry that these Updates tend to focus on the Gomberg kites and not as much on the other showpieces, artworks, demos and kids contest taking place on other fields.

The reason is simple. When the wind is thumping, it is not wise or prudent to leave your anchors. By the days end, we had to wrestle the Gecko to the ground with three broken bridle lines.

Suffice it to say that Zilker has a bit of everything -- kitemaking competition, kids events, buggies, sport kite demos, and the best run on-field kite store I've ever seen. All of it is coordinated by the Exchange Club of Austin in coperation with the City Park Department. Heck -- we even made the national news on FOX -- so I guess all our kites were 'fair and balanced'...

Sport and Friend

The Texicans always go out of their way to make us feel welcome and appreciated. Our flight home Monday was early afternoon which meant we got to sleep in, savor a fine breakfast, and then enjoy the gardens surrounding the lovely Carriage House Inn. Relaxing! Wow!! We don't get to do that often!!

Of course, there is a downside to bringing lots of gear to a tasteful and quaint B&B.

 Carriage House Inn  Carriage House Inn  Carriage House Inn

We're flying home now and looking forward to another busy week. March is proving that the travel schedule is filling sooner and sooner each year. We've got Fort Worden, the Lincoln City Indoor Festival, and then Smithsonian before April arrives.

See you out there!!>

Petzl Swivel

We've been looking for something to replace the 'industrial' swivels supplied with our big Crowns and Bols. And what we found is really, really cool.

The all-aluminum US-made Petzl Swivel is rated at 36 Kilonewtons. That eight-thousand pounds of breaking strength and only four inches long! It's tough, looks super, weighs next to nothing, and works great!

This is a sealed ball bearing swivel designed to turn under pressure. Each one is individually stress tested. and the larger opening can hold several biners. Total weight is bout 4.5 ounces.

What the catch? The list price is $67 each. But we are going to make them $60 less your AKA discount. Its a crazy amount of money for a swivel, but the very best one you will ever buy. And you get one free with a big Crown or Giant Spinsock.

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