March 6, 2006
Zilker -- Never the Wrong Wind -- Only the Wrong Kite

The Zilker Park Kite Festival continues as one of the great American kite gatherings. Even when the wind doesn’t blow, thousands of people come out to have fun. And if things aren’t perfect this year, you can count on another event next time. After all, they’ve been gathering here with kites for the past 78 years in a row!

Our festival this year began with a memorial kite flown early in the day for dear friend Mike Gillard who died suddenly last week.

Cherish each day and love your friends well. Life is full of unexpected news.

Memorial Kite

Zilker is a vast grassy space on the edge of Austin. Each March, the Exchange Club presents a festival as a fundraiser for their other programs. This year, the Recreation Department announced the park officially “full”. There were 20,000 people and a heck of a lot of kites.

Zilker Park Zilker Park Zilker Park

Marked flying space kept room for the “pros” well maintained and the light breezes blew toward the kids area, rather than blowing them toward us.

Zilker Park Zilker Park Zilker Park Zilker Park

Contests continued throughout the day in traditional categories like smallest, largest, steadiest, most unusual, and highest angle. We enjoyed sport kite shows by fliers from around Texas. And on the large kite field, Richard Wells, Charlie Cullen, Rick Hawkins, Daniel Rojhas, and Rob Cembalest flew with Susie and me.

Zilker Park Zilker Park Zilker Park Zilker Park

World Wind Kites had three selling stations on site with one of the most efficient retailing programs we’ve seen at an event. Buyers line up and review menus. Then when they reach the front they just ask for a “number 12” or a “number 8”. It was kinda like Taco Bell with string! And the result was 1500 kites in the air!

Kites for Sale Kites for Sale Kites for Sale

The morning started gusty. And that’s fine because kites going up and down can be more interesting than kites flying steady. But by the afternoon, breezes dropped to almost nothing.

No Wind

There is a saying in the kite world – never the wrong wind – only the wrong kite! So while our thirty-pound inflatables lay limp on the ground, thousands of plastic deltas and sleds filled the horizon.

Parts of the field looked like a large rainbow had passed through with diarrhea...

Susie hates it when I use examples like that!)

By the end of the day, we were worn out. Launching and catching kites may look interesting but can be hard work. We packed up all the gear and headed for the closest cold beer.

Zilker is a remarkable gathering and we want to thank the Exchange Club, the sponsors, workers, and especially Bunnie and Dorsey Twidwell for their good work. And if you ever visit Austin, we strongly recommend the Carriage House B&B

No Wind

And all those plastic kites?? Most of them stayed in the park.

We’re flying back to Portland Monday, swapping luggage at the airport, and flying straight out to Bangkok. We don’t even get home this time!

We won’t be able to ship for the next week. But we’ll have a great Update for you next time. So check back soon!

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