Kite Fest 2004

The 10th annual Industrial Alliance International Kite Festival took place on September 18 and 19th in Toronto. WOW what a treat!! Meeting so many nice people from around the world and spending time flying kites is a great way to spend a weekend. Bernie Houle from New Brunswick and I flew into Toronto on Thursday. After getting settled in our dorm room at the Seneca college we met John and Marzlie Freeman as well as Merv Cooper and Don Brownridge. John and Marzlie Freeman make some really beautiful kites using different quilting techniques as well as “traditional” applique techniques.

  A sample of John and Marzlie Freeman’s kites
Friday arrived early and we got started right away. First it was downtown to the Dragon city mall for a press conference where I met the other international fliers. Everyone decorated the restaurant with their beautiful kites and we all had a great Chinese dim-sum lunch. Once we were all full and the kites packed away we headed to the beach for a small fly for the press. Merv Cooper was in charge of the schedule and getting kite fliers to bring in their kites on time is sort of like herding cats. We all headed down to the Docks for drinks and views of Toronto. Then true to form, Merv herded us all back to the dorms to freshen up and then a fun buffet dinner at Frankie Tomattos.

Saturday came even earlier than Friday and we were on the field around 8:00 am. John and Marzlie set up their beatufiul provincial flag and flower banners. Other fliers started rolling in throughout the morning and more and more tents, easy-ups, flags, lined the edges of the flying field. Then it was time to fly some kites! It was great to see so many different kites and so many innovations. The wind was light and some times disappeared all together but I think everyone had a good time. Saturday wrapped up with a Chinese banquet put on by the Mandarin club of Toronto. A 12 course meal hits the spot when you have been out on the field all day!

Sunday was more of the same and we arrived on the field early to get everything setup. We were treated with some of Lam Hoac’s creations . This was my first time meeting Lam Hoac. He is an amazing flier and builder and what a great sense of humor. I helped Lam setup his stack of quads and picked up a few pointers along the way The winds on Sunday were very light and attempts at flying kites were short lived for some but we tried our best to put on a good show. Bernies Dragon took to the sky on both Saturday and Sunday but it took Gary and Michelle Mark’s twin girls and his little dog to finally tame the beast .

Later on in the afternoon was the Open Rokkaku Championship. I decided to enter with my Hummingbird kite . I have only battled once before and that was also in very light winds and I did not do well at all. This time it was a little different and there were a few more rules to remember. There were five contestants all flying the kites made for the sponsors of the event. It was truly an international battle with two Chinese teams, a German team, an Italian team, and me. After three seven- minute heats, a few heart pounding moments, and 180 degree wind change it was all over. The Pacific Insurance kite flown by Sven from Team No Limits of Germany took first, I took second with my Hummingbird kite and the title sponsor kite team for Industrial Alliance took third. Then it was packing up the kites for the final time this weekend and off to a great Indian buffett in downtown Toronto at the Skylark, which was excellent.

Cheers,
Bill