August 21, 2006
Rockaway Beach, New York

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. We arrived at our assigned hotel to find that they rented rooms in five-hour blocks. So I guess most people weren’t actually sleeping there. But that story will have to wait for another Update.

Susie and I have usually been unable to attend the Rockaway Beach festival because it conflicts with Long Beach in Washington. But this year the schedules meshed so we were able to do both! We took the all-night “red-eye” into the City, stayed at an 'interesting' hotel with the rest of the kite crew, and early Saturday headed for a perfect flying beach.

East Coast Octo-Pile

So what do David and Susan Gomberg, Al Sparling, Pete Dolphin, Mike Agner, Jerry McGuire, Jeff Burka, Kelly Mayhew and Dennis Hawley have in common?

I’ll give you a hint – the answer adds up to eighty tentacles….

There were plenty of fun kites and great kiters spread around the beach, but at the center of it all was a huge pile of Octopus. Look closely and you’ll notice one is a bit unusual. It is what the folks in New Zealand call the “OLO” – Over Large Octopus – and twice the size of a normal giant one. The folks in New York called it other names.

OLO OLO OLO OLO

We also had Jordans, Crowns, a GIANT duck, a barn yard of inflatables, fighters, quads, dual lines, Commets, Divers, Fish, banners that lined the beach, a kite store, kid's kite building, Spikey Balls, Spikey Fish, Lady Bugs, huge Snowflakes and so much more!! The sky was painted with hundreds of kites!

Rockaway  Kites Rockaway  Kites Rockaway  Kites Rockaway  Kites

But for our little group, the highlight was launching Octos and then sitting back in the shade we had created to watch and enjoy the show. Winds were perfect. Sunday afternoon, we pulled one of the giants down low to create a shady spot on the field. There is nothing like a flying day where you only need to launch a kite once!

Rockaway  Kites Rockaway  Kites Rockaway  Kites

Roger Chewning and the SkyFestivals team handled organizational chores for Rockaway and were ideal kite hosts. NBC, Fox, and the Weather Channel provided national coverage. There is now talk about broadening the festival to include more live music, or a five-day traveling venue to promote kiting in each of the New York boroughs.

Monday morning, we headed across town early to catch a flight home. We have two frantic days in the office and then drive up to the largest kite event on the West Coast in Long Beach, Washington. See you up there!

And remember that we're away to South Africa in September and the office will be closed for two weeks. We'll be checking emails but won't be able to do any shipping.

Rockaway  Kites

Spikey Fish

Spikey Fish Sale:

He is a big, bouncing ball of fun and fins! He's our Spikey Ball Fish. And if you want one, we'll make it easy.

Email your orders before September 5 and we'll discount the $499 price to just $390. You even get to choose the colors!

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