South Padre Island is the perfect place for a kite festival. The winds are ever present and the wide expanses of beach have no trees to snag a wayward kite. The sand is packed hard and provides an infinite space for attendees to park their cars and set up their lawn chairs. The festival is sponsored by the local kite shop as well as many local businesses, but is totally uncommercial. No entrance or parking fees are charged. There are few things to buy and little food for sale. Everyone who attends is there for the love of flying kites.
Some participants bring extremely large kites which look large enough to lift them off the ground. Others bring flotillas of kites that look like fanciful creatures. It is clear that many of these people have spent significant sums on their colorful flyers and they love when we walk by and make admiring comments. Some structure their vacations and travels around the various festivals that are held throughout the US.
But most attendees set up their chairs around the arena space where skilled kiters perform to music. The most impressive shows are done in formations. It is hard to imagine how they can fly 6 - 8 kites so close together that they touch at times and yet not get tangled up with each other. Each flyer wears a head set and they constantly communicate as they change from one formation to another. And when the music suggested a pause, they would stop on a dime and take off together once the music carried on. An emcee introduced the performers and we were surprised to hear that a few of them make their living full time flying their kites around the world.
After the festival we walked he beach and came upon an RV which appeared to be camped on the sand long term. It was covered with solar panels. But when we got closer we could hear that they needed all this electricity, because they were doing a music jam session complete with singing, guitars and impressive amps. Although a few people sat on beach chairs and enjoyed the show, most of the music was taken by the wind over the waves and out to sea.
We love to be on the beach. After we leave the Valley, we'll head along the coast and enjoy lots more beach strolls and fly our own kite.