August 1
Berkeley International Kite Festival

I can't speak for everyone, but for Susie and me, this was the best Berkeley in years. Through the past five festivals, I've spent the weekend on the microphone, announcing events, introducing fliers, answering questions, and promoting the vendors. I enjoyed it. But this time, organizer Tom McAlister asked us to simply fly kites. So right in the center of the 10,000 plus crowd, we launched an Octopus and Squid. Then we sat back in the shadow we'd created and drank in the atmosphere.

Squid and Octo

Ok - ok -- so part of the satisfaction we got was from seeing dozens of friends flying kites or laundry that we had made or sold for them. Rainbow Suttons with matching Space Socks. Streamer Tails in custom colors. Dozens of Snake Tails. No less than three mid Octopus. Plus Martin Lester, Kevin Shannon, Windfeather Banners, Elephants and Panda Bears, Parachutes and Beach Balls. Who wouldn't feel good about that?

Park Panorama

And us right in the middle under a rock-steady Octopus. Bumper-to-bumper traffic on nearby I-80 slowed to watch the spectacle. And as usual, the competition and demos on the main field were spectacular.

Nathan and Kathy Sendan organized a great rokkaku fight. They provided 15 custom kites and line, and then signed up new fighters to give it a try. One even sliced me down in the first heat. But it was still fun. And besides, despite being twice the age of most competitors and still limping from Newport, I finished the finals as the last kite in the air.

Gusty winds are notorious off the Bay and taking down our big stuff at the end of the day as a work-out. My muscles still ache! But the two of us handled everything just fine and the crowd seemed to like the show even better when it looked like we knew what we were doing.

Susie Works the Line The Line Works Susie

The festival ended with an evening dinner cruise of San Francisco Bay. Good friends, a fine vista, and plenty to drink. No one left early either....

We'll be back next July for the 15th Annual.

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