May 24, 2012
Hello from Houlgate!

What are you doing this weekend? Oh -- flying to France. For the weekend?? Yes -- in on Thursday and out on Monday. Sounds pretty glamorous. But try it yourself before you get too jealous!

Actually, staying longer is highly recommended. There's plenty to do! D-Day beaches are nearby, as are castles, and Mt. St. Michele. The town really is lovely. And a local beverage called Calvados will help you sleep through any jet lag.

Banner Show

Houlgate (pronounced without the first and last letters) is a charming and unspoiled small city on the Normandy coast, about two hours from Paris. I was pleased to be invited this year by Fred and Kristine, the new organizers. And I was equally pleased to be able to sandwich the trip into a busy Spring schedule.

Houlgate Beach Whales Houlgate Beach

I found the event well organized and well attended by fliers from northern France and the low countries. There were great people and wonderful kites on the beach, with a tide that went way, WAY out.

So with all of that said, things were not perfect.

Note to organizers:

  • Please don't put the largest kites furthest from the storage area.
  • Please don't put the kid's kitemaking next to the large kite field unless there is a process to keep those kids off the field.
  • Please, PLEASE don't put your English speaking guest alone on a large field with large kites but no way to communicate with large groups of French people walking across that field.

On day one, my field - - and it was just my field -- was swarmed with children. At one point, with winds gusting hard and the showpieces sweeping the beach, someone parked a baby carriage under the show and walked away for half an hour. But by day two, I had security, company, and much better winds.

Bloom Banners Bloom Banners Bloom Banners Bloom Banners

Gill and Jon Bloom from England displayed their exquisite banners. Cerf-Volants Folie, who finished fourth in the Berck World Championships, did demonstrations with up to 11 practiced team members. And the best show on the beach, IMHO, were the delightful Poppies which we'd seen earlier in Berck. The stems were flexible so these were not banners. The flowers flew with their own lift, so they were not laundry. And the results were both eerie and spectacular!

Poppies Poppies Poppies

Click here for a nice video.

I'll admit to being tired on this quick trip. Susie had been on holiday with her mother the week before. I drove to airport, met them there and gave them the car. I spent the night in a Portland hotel, and then had a long flight to Paris. I arrived, went to the field, met folks there, and then had a restless night in a new room.


The first festival day was bumpy; the second one was great! So at the end of the second day, before we departed to the main banquet, I started packing gear for the trip to my hotel and a five a.m. pick up to return to the airport and home.

Jon Bloom asked why I was leaving early. I told him I had a scheduled flight and didn't know the festival extend to Monday. He then politely explained that the festival ended Sunday and that today was Saturday....

Hell -- even my IPhone didn't know what time it was!

I left the gear in the tent for one more festival day. Sadly, the rains arrived that night and my packing wasn't wasted.

I'm skipping GrandHaven for the first time in several years. And I won't be in Wildwood which I have attended annually since the 1980. But things are changing. Tuesday was the Primary Election in Oregon and I am now the official Democratic nominee. The next election is in November and will be here all too soon!

The French thanked me for flying their colors. But this fine red/white/blue SkyForm 3 screams "USA".

The kite is 250 square feet and the tail 100 feet long. If you are an experienced flowform flier, this may be a great addition to your bag. List price is $959 for the set. But you can have this one, flown in France, for about 25% off -- $725.

All used equipment from GKPI is guaranteed and fully warranted.


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