September 22, 2009
Family Day Kite Festival on Marina Green

At a time when many festival are struggling or waning, the Family Day Kite Festival in San Francisco is growing.

Of course, the stunning vista on Marina Green, overlooking the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the St. Francis Yacht Club doesn't hurt.

FSKF Winners

There is adequate parking right alongside the grassy fields. Wind is reliable. And the traffic on Marina Boulevard provides plenty of visibility.

So it is no surprise that more fliers are coming and more spectators are showing up.

Susie and I were down at Family Day for our third visit. Together with Barry and Karen Ogletree, and Brian Champie, we anchored the west end of the field with larger inflatables. Turbulence from the nearby mansions and the narrow size of the field meant we each had to anchor center field and fly low to keep from dropping unexpectedly into the street or the crowd.

FDKF Kites FDKF Kites FDKF Kites

Further downwind, the art kite fliers gathered. Scott Skinner, Jose Sainz, and Dean Jordan joined a collection of local kiters. Beyond that was the sound stage with contests and demonstrations all day. And then finally, at the far end of the field, the sky was littered with paper kites from the kid's tent.

Certainly this is one of the most beautiful places in the country to fly kites. And the urban setting is both dramatic and unusual. Strong gusty winds make the flying challenging. But overall, the experience is a positive and productive one.

FDKF Kites FDKF Kites FDKF Kites FDKF Kites

Early Sunday afternoon, the success of FDKF overwhelmed the event and organizers lost control of the field boundaries. New fliers with freshly bought kites, followed by children with paper toys and cotton line began to infiltrate. They were augmented by an occasional pilot with a new sport kite or power foil, each flown by folks with big smiles and their inexperienced hands straight up over their heads.

Next came the curious spectators with cameras, random unaccompanied kids, and moms with strollers.The art kite fliers pulled in and packed up first. Then the big kiters mid-field. And finally Susan and I gave in. We couldn't fly safely and chose not to fly.

FDKF Fliers FDKF Fliers FDKF Fliers FDKF Fliers

By 3 pm, all of the "pros" were off the field. The flying space was filled with kids having fun and I guess you can't argue with that.

I've been promised that next year, the sound system will reach all flying areas, that fields will be better marked, and that safety officials will patrol the area so we don't have to police it ourselves. And in return, I promised that we'll be back!

Off to Maryland tomorrow, then Southern California, and then on direct to AKA. See you out there!

Tree Frogs

Our Frog Stack was a big hit in San Francisco. We're planning to bring it to AKA and sell the pieces at the FlyMart. But you can order one before we pack and save 20%. And you don't even need to come to convention.

List price is $500. Grab one of these for $400. Colors are blue, red, yellow, or black. Offer is good until September 27.

*Click here for information on how to place an order.

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