August 27
A Perfect Weekend in Long Beach

For most of the week in Long Beach, there was rain, pounding wind, drizzle and doldrums. But Friday was near-perfect and Saturday even better. And as luck would have it, the Gombergs arrived Thursday afternoon.

Festival Banners

The Washington State International Kite Festival -- WSIKF -- is the largest kite event in the USA. This year, more space was opened for informal flying which means the big parafoils, flowforms, and lifters moved in close and filled the skies over the crowd.

We then added oversized elephants, tube tails, baskets, beach balls, and plenty of stunning art kites to the mix. It would be hard to say whether the sky show was better then the ground displays.

Banners ringed the public areas as more than 40,000 spectators gathered for a series of exhibitions, parades, competitions, and special guests in the main field. To see a short film of the festival, click here for Movie #1 or click here for Movie #2

Festival Panorama

It's always fun to have the biggest kite at a big festival. ... Susan and I lauched a Giant Octopus over the crowd and later demonstrated in the main arena how to inflate, launch, fly and retreive a Giant Squid all in just ten minutes.

Remember Poppers -- the ultimate line climber?? You open them up like an umbrella, the wind slides them up the flying line, and when they get to the kite, they collapse and slide back down. The fun comes when you send them up in sets and the falling one then collapses the next one and so on and so on. Each one makes a loud "pop" as the sail folds up.

We now have purchased limited number on order and suddenly find that they are selling fast. We can probably get more later, but there are no guarantees. So as a loyal Update reader, we're giving you the chance to order in advance and we'll hold some for you. Call or email and let us know how many you want. The cost - originally $50 each -- is now just $25. Please note that all sails will be rainbow colored.

Poppers are Back!

Here are a few more examples of the fabulous kites that friends put into the sky.
Remember that you can click on any image for a larger view.

Parrot Train Butler Dragon Freeman Bargello Fun Foil Umbower Cats Bargello

At one point, we opened four of our huge Crowns - two of our own and two bought from the -- Factory by Rod Thrall and Andy Tauber. They were quickly surronded by 16 foot elephants.

Arches and Crowns Flying Elephants Crown Show

Saturday afternoon, all of the fliers grab banners and parade into the main field.

Banner Parade
Inroduction of Guests Parade

There are hundreds of them! And guess who gets to announce the event and try to remember everyone's name as they march past.

Special international guests are then introduced and the Mayor presents them with a key to the city -- which conveniently doubles as a beer bottle opener...

Saturday night, the World Kite Museum hosted a reception and auction which netted over $6,500 for their new building fund. We also announced three new inductees into the Kiting Hall of Fame.

Finally on Sunday, the sleepy and sunburned fliers returned to the field for one more perfect day of flying before inching their cars and vans out of town for the trek home.

Thursday morning early, we depart for Europe. Susie and I will do the big festival in Bristol England, and then tour north into Scotland for a few days. Susie is looking forward to the holiday.

On the 12th, Susie flies home and I cross the Channel by ferry for the International gathering in Dieppe.

So the office will be closed, but we'll be checking our emails as often as the complexities of international communication allow... Talk soon!!

Smiling Susie

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