October 12, 2006
29th Annual AKA Convention

Susie and I are just back from the AKA Grand Nationals and Convention in Des Moines.

Attendance was a bit lower this year because we donít have as many members close to the site, because another major event was scheduled the same weekend, and because some folks thought Iowa didnít sound like a sexy destination for a major kite gathering. But those that stayed away missed probably the most fun and best gathering AKA has enjoyed in many, many years.

Fun Fliers!

I must have had a good time because I'm exhausted.

For those of you not familiar with this annual gathering of the kite clan, let me tell you that it is a week long program of competitions, exhibitions, workshops, meetings, and parties.

AKA Kites AKA Kites AKA Kites AKA Kites

We had about 270 registrants from throughout the USA and Canada. Other nations represented included Australia, Germany, and China. The prestigious Edeiken Kiteflier of the Year award was presented to Cel and Mike Dallmer. Darrin and Susan Skinner received the Ingraham Award for service to the AKA.

And me?? I retired after ten years at the helm of the most creative, committed, and fun-loving Associations in the world...

The Annual Auction raised over $27,000. I got to stand on stage and sell stuff while dozens of other folks worked behind the scenes to catalog, tag, organize, and reports sales amounts. There was a loud auction, silent auction, bag raffle, and cash/carry.

Auction Sales Auction Sales

One special item was the Star Farker, a wreck-of-a-kite which started out bad and has been adjusted each year to make it worse. Basically you buy it and bring it back next year with modifications. In DesMoines, the WACKOS Clue rigged the Farker for night flying. It was bought for $100 by the Bay Area Sport Kite League.

AKA Kites AKA Kites AKA Kites AKA Kites

The AKA convention isn't about statistics and trophies, and elections. It is really about people. Des Moines was an amazing collection of all kinds of wonderful people. Unfortunately I was running around too much to take a lot of good photos so most of those shown here are from Jim Martin.

Angel Fly
Each afternoon started with a mass ascension. Soft kites launched one day and cellular or roks another. There is nothing like a sky filled with color to start a flying day!

A special moment came during the "Angel Fly". Dozens off all-white kites were lofted to remember fliers who had passed on over the course of the year. Names were read as the sky filled. It was a tasteful and poignant remembrance of dear friends.

Another highlight was our launching of the MegaFlag. The largest kite in the world launched Thursday with tons of television and newspaper coverage. Huge crowds came out on Saturday, but with winds gusting into the 30's we decided to forego a second launch.

Click here for a great video of the flight.

For daily reports, competition results, and commentary from a non-presidential perspective, visit KiteLife.com or the AKA site.

Mega Flag!
Meanwhile, we're scrambling to get caught up again, and getting ready for yet another event. Lincoln City will host the 28th Annual Fall Kite Festival this weekend and lots of folks are headed this direction.

Our FlyMart Booth at AKA offered huge savings on a number of kites. So it seems only fair to offer a bit of that excitement to some of you sho couldn't attend.

I have three mid-sized Gecko, flown once, for $1150 (instead of $1400), a brand new mid-size Trilobite for $1150 (normally $1400), and a mid-sized Turtle, flown once, for $1000 instead of $1400. I also have a red and a purple Meanie for $900 (regurlar price $1100). Prices are good through October 20.

Gecko Stack

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