March 2, 2009
Zilker at 81

Zilker Park is one of our favorite kite events. For eighty-one years, kite enthusiasts have been gathering is this Austin park in March for fun and flying. That makes Zilker the longest running kite festival in North America.

Susan and I have been coming for ten years. Winds are usually bumpy but we’ve watched the fields fill with fliers to the point where there are more kites in the air than any festival we’ve seen in the USA.

Zilker Poster

This year, Zilker was a bit awkward. The traditional flying fields are being re-sodded for the Austin City Limits music festival. Kites were shifted to a new area with about one-third the normal space. Of course the same crowd came out. And the result was a mass of people, kites, string, and dogs that reminded me much of the festivals of China (except for the dogs).

Zilker Kites Zilker Kites Zilker Kites Zilker Kites Zilker Kites
Zilker Kites Zilker Kites Zilker Kites Zilker Kites

Susie and I, Barry and Karen Ogletree, their sons John and Will, Rick Hawkins, and Charlie Cullen worked a large field surrounded by hills and trees. The winds were erratic. In smooth conditions we might have launched 20 pieces into that space. But with each kite veering both left and right, we could only fly two without risking a fall into the crowd or a messy mid-air tangle.

That’s not to say that some fun stuff wasn’t flown. In fact, we launched some great kites -- including some custom octo-varients we made with the Lynn Group for Barry and Karen. But we had to work hard all day to keep things aloft.

Show Kites Show Kites Show Kites Show Kites

About three in the afternoon, contests and demos on the neighboring field wrapped up and the announcer proclaimed the space “open”. Within minutes, 500 kids flooded into our space as well. Concerned about public safety and equipment security, we were done.

Zilker is a one day fly. Each year we stay at Austin’s top-rated B&B, the lovely Carriage House Inn. The festival is organized by Bunnie and Dorsey Twidwell of the Austin Exchange Club. They do an amazing job, raising funds for worthy causes and sending thousands home with smiles.

Next year we’ll be back on the bigger fields with better wind.

Opera Masks

These wonderful creations from the Spanish Gonzalez Brothers were delighting crowds in Zilker. We're now making three colors and two styles. Pick one up and save 20% off the $1250 price between now and March 15.

At the Dieppe International Kite Festival, we asked Pedro and Estaban about their inspiration and construction techniques. It was windy but there is some good information about their "system".

The Brothers also created the popular Red Devil. GKPI will soon have a full size model produced under license. We're making them available for $3000. Sign up now and get the first one in from the Factory.

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