Although we come from the Windy City, it can't hold a candle to the constant wind around here. On a hot day, it's a pleasure, but once the temperatures slips below 60º, we wish it would stop once in a while. Some of the twenty mile bike rides have been cancelled because the wind is so strong. There are huge empty fields and few trees for wind breaks. The wind is also a major factor on the golf course. But if you want to fly a kite, this is a great place to be.
A local kite store sponsors the annual kite festival on South Padre Island. No admission is charged and the profits from the food sold there go to local charities. The festival takes place on a huge hard packed beach next to the convention center. A large area was marked off and surrounded by spectators and their folding chairs. In the middle various teams put on displays flying kites in formation to music. Outside the arena people flew solo kites. Some were tethered to the ground. If you could imagine it, you could probably make it out of kite fabric. These were not the simple balsa wood and paper kits of our youth.
The creativity of the kite construction was impressive and the teams flying formations were, too. The precision with which they crossed the kites and strings and then undid the tangles was amazing. The festival was low key. There was no competition as far as we could tell. After their individual performances, two formation teams came together and did a show featuring ten kits, an awesome feat of keeping the strings apart while the kites came close together. The less skilled stayed right outside the arena and took advantage of the ever present wind and practiced swooping and landing. Altogether it was a beautiful sight.
And now Ken is the proud owner of a new kite. Perhaps I'll be able to get him to the beach more often.