October 24
Back from Germany

On the final night of Lunen, my good friend Christian turned to me over dinner. "Did you see any extra security during the festival?" he asked. I hadn't noticed anything unusual and thought for a moment he was talking about crowd control during the fireworks. Then Christian explained that as part of his permit, he was required to note whether any Americans would be taking part in the event and was told that undercover policemen might be assigned to protect them.

Things are getting weird.

Lunen Crowds - over 50,000 people... plus security

Well, if any "protection" was following me in Lunen, they would have had to move fast and finished the weekend pretty damned tired. They would have flown giant Penguins, Crowns, and Spikey Bouncers. They would have fought in the rokkaku Battles.

They would have swapped pins, hiked up and down the length of the kite "village" dozens of times, and would have been offered a beer every time they passed Karl Dambeck's car. It is like a family reunion with kites. I would have led those security types in and out of a hundred "camper cars" surrounded by banners, lawn chairs, dogs and children.

Kite Village

They would have judged the night fly competition until late Saturday, sipping "glow wine" to stay warm.

Willi Koch's Painted and Appliquéd Rokkaku Big Codys Rolf Sturm drags his kites off the field

They would have watched display competition move in and out of the main field all day, shown their kite-passes to get into the airplane hanger at the field's edge that became a beer-garden at night, been dragged onto the dance floor under flashing lights after the awards ceremony, and then been back for communal breakfast in the hanger early the next day.

Grand Champion Display The Euro will replace the Deutch Mark in January

They would have laughed with dozens of close friends as I struggled to learn a few new German words, and laughed harder as I tried those new words on familiar faces that turned out to be English fliers. And they would have seen an amazing collection of kites.

They would have slept little and ate too much. I would have definitely worn those security folks out.

I'm home again, weary but well, and ready for yet another festival this weekend. I'm off to Atlantic Beach in North Carolina. See you there!

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