Octopus in France
We’d come to France to fly Octopus.
Berck is the traditional kite season opener in Europe. The beach at the edge of the English Channel is wide and windy. Fliers come from around the continent and the world. And the crowds are enormous.
Last Spring, I’d invited organizer Gerard Clement to join us in Thailand for an Octopus gathering. He’d liked the idea of flying a record-breaking 12 and decided to try and do even better here. And since Berck is known for big kites, we knew we were going to have a handful.
Organizing a giant kite show is hard, physical work. It begins with the challenge of getting all the gear through the airport, and continues as you wheel 70 pound bags to the beach. The hard bumpy winds were daunting but we’d done this before and were ready to do it bigger.
We had Octopus from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the USA. Three were the massive “OLO” (over-large-octopus) with double the volume of the standard 90 foot giants.
Our core team of Mike Agner, Al Sparling, Kevin and Linda Sanders, Peter Lynn and Gary Mark began by moving heavy cement anchors with fork-lifts on the packed sand. Pilots stabilized the top kites 150 feet up and we then added two or three more below. With hard turbulent winds tumbling over the buildings, it was challenging and occasionally dangerous. Everyone on the field left with bruises at the end of the first day.
Sunday crowds were the biggest and by then, more kites had arrived. We finished the day with an astounding 17 pieces in the sky.
It is Monday and we can catch our breath for a few days. The festival goes on but is more relaxed during the week. But there is a three-day holiday weekend coming and more Octopus are on the way….
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