August 3
Twenty Years in Berkeley


You have to wonder what people think as they climb the grassy hill from the street and the giant kite show of Berkeley comes into view. It is an amazing sight as one after another of the huge inflatables come into view and undulate over the crowd.

Crowded Sky

This was the twentieth annual gathering of kiters at the Berkeley Marina.

Over those years, the event has gone through a number of changes. Sport kite competition, demonstration performances, art kites, and now giant kites have each in their turn been the main attraction at this popular event.

Berkeley draws the largest spectator base of any western kite event. Kids programs, learn-to-fly fields, candy drops, newby rokkaku fights, buggy demos, and stunning sport kite shows keep the public entertained on the main exhibition field.

Further up the hill, the Berkeley Kite Wranglers have amassed the largest show of big inflatables I've seen at any North American event. You could almost feel Peter Lynn smiling at the spectacle.

Octo Pile Octo Pile Octo Pile Octo Pile

The centerpiece is the Berkeley trademarked "Octo-Pile" which this year featured nine of the giant Peter Lynns. With the wind blustering off the bay at 15-20, that's a lot of rustling fabric in the sky!!

PL Giants PL Giants PL Giants

Plenty of other big kites were on the field as well. We had Manta Ray, Trilobites, Gecko, Bears, Cats, Fugu and a string of new Fish. All together, I'd estimate $150,000 worth of show kites on display.

Rainbow Show Rainbow Show Rainbow Show

On the perimiter, rainbow Suttons, streamers, and line art filled the sky. Wayne Brooks and Ben Ben D'Antonio were awarded special recognition by the Wranglers for their hard working show.

Flying Show Flying Show Flying Party Flying Party

And of course, there were banners, bouncers, art kites, and the indefatigable Ray Bethel who continues to wow the crowd year after year. The magic of Berkeley is the variety of kiting it packs into one event.

Our own contribution was adding to the Octopus in the sky and launching a string of mid and large Fish. One of these 'middies' was made in New Zealand and one in the GKPI Factory.

Guess which is which and I'll give you 20% off on ours! (Hint -- you have a 50-50 chance and I'll probably lie and give you the discount anyway...)

It was another fine weekend and over a drink with friends Sunday night, we tried to remember whether we had been at 18 or 19 of the last Berkeley festivals.

Three Fishes

Monday morning, Susie and I pointed the car north and headed back up Interstate 5 and the ten hour drive home.

Things are going to be a bit crazy for the next few weeks. Things are going to be a bit crazy for the next few weeks. From August 8-16 we'll be in Dieppe Canada for the big International Kite Gathering there. We'll return home for one day and then I head off to Long Beach for the Washington State International Kite Festival. Susie will take a few extra days to try and catch up on shipping.

We're fortunate to be able to attend all these events but the travel does present challenges. So if you're thinking about an order in the next few weeks, let us know now so we can help you get it on schedule.

And if you happen to be in the neighborhood of Dieppe or WSIKF, be sure to say hello!

Kabuki Rokkaku Sale

Back in 1994, we commissioned a series of very special rokkakus based on a series of traditional Japanese kite images. I selected the graphics from history, literature, and folklore. But more importantly, I chose illustrations typically used on rokkakus. A limited number of kites were sold for $500 each. They are still the most visual and appealing roks I've ever seen.

Now that GKPI is making sticked kites, we decided to start with this stunning series of "Kabuki Rokkakus". These are big kites -- seven feet tall and about six wide. They aren't made for fighting. Instead, these steady fliers are made for show, for personal satisfaction, and for fun.

We're selling them for just $175 each. But order before August 10 and we'll take off $25. Go to our KiteMaster's Guild to see all eight striking designs.

Rok Show

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