October 31
I Ate It at Atlantic Beach!

Yes, I ate the okra. I ate several ockras. Or is it okrie? Anyway, I ate them.

Last week, I explained that I was headed for Atlantic Beach, North Carolina for the for festival sponsored by Kites Unlimited.

When the local WACKOS (Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society) got word of my visit, they offered to recruit new AKA members if I would try their favorite vegetable and look like I was enjoying it.

Raw Okra

As I have said before, for those of you not familiar with okra -- it is a slimy sour vegetable that looks like a banana slug and tastes like a combination of wallpaper paste and snot. In this case, I had my choice of mushy mild okra stems, or chili-hot, Texas style pickles. I went for the hot stuff hoping the chili pepper would cut the taste.

At the appointed hour, I was out there on the field, having built a suitable gastronomic base with several McD's cold cheesburgers. Never eat pickled okra on an empty stomach...

Raw Okra Raw Okra

Other than the okra, the festival was pretty good. I mean, how can you complain about warm sunny weather on late October with breezes blowing straight out to the water off the dunes. The Bay Area Sundowners flew their big train routines, Randy Tom and Ray Wong decorated the sky with appliquéd art, and Brits Mark and Janette Lumas, formerly of the word champion Sky Dance but now living in California, flew masterful pairs performances.

Giant Delta Giant Delta Giant Delta

A Saturday highlight was the launching of a 40 foot wide Tony Cyphert Delta. The kite was well anchored, but it took a full team to slowly let the line out so that the kite would not launch into the surf.

In Atlantic Beach, we unveiled the newest version of our Giant Spikey Bouncer. Yes -- we know it looks like an art-deco Fugu. But since we are the North American distributor of Peter Lynn kites, we're just copying ourselves. And besides, a big Fugu is $3500 and these are just $1200.

Back in August, we tested the original Spikey Bouncer. As you can see, we have added more spikes and made the mouth larger for better inflation. And of course, if you want one in special colors...

New Spikey Bouncer Old Spikey Bouncer

Kites Unlimited is a fine shop with a great variety of kites, games, puzzles, and toys. What I liked best about it was that it was a real kite store -- not a specialty toy store. There were all kinds of kites for all kinds of fliers -- from beginner to the advanced and art kite collector.

Kites Unlimited Kites Unlimited Kites Unlimited
We finished off the festival with another fine North Carolina tradition -- a pig-picking bar-be-que. Good food and good people. The next morning, the phone rang an hour early because the hotel hadn't reset their wake-up system for Daylight Savings. I loaded the gear and headed for the airport and home.

And guess what! No festival next week! I'm home for November!!

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