Pilot story by Donald Allison
Photos by Larry Ellis
Hundreds of spectators turned out over the weekend to watch the 11th annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival at the Port of Brookings Harbor and enjoyed the intricate maneuvers by performing kite flyers.
Port of Brookings Harbor Marketing Director Nita Rolfe said the festival was the biggest so far.
"Last year, our shuttle had 200 passengers each on Saturday and Sunday," Rolfe said. "This year it had 600 on Saturday, and we didn't get a final count on Sunday."
Rolfe could not confirm a rumor that actor Robin Williams attended the kite festival.
Rolfe said festival organizers could also tell there were many more people this year because Boat Basin Road usually had two rows of spectators, and this year there were six.
Kite flyer Penny Lingenfelter, of Port Orchard, Wash., flew her revolution kite over the weekend and said she was enjoying the warm welcome from the community.
"This is one of my favorites because of the close proximity to the crowd," Lingenfelter said. "We get great feedback and get to talk to the people. It's wonderful to know they are enjoying it."
Rolfe said Saturday night's auction at the Elks Lodge was well attended and helped raise money for the flyers.
"We had probably 200 people there," she said.
During the auction, a plaque was given to Port of Brookings Harbor Executive Director Russ Crabtree for his work in making the kite festival a success.
"He does the little things that go unnoticed," Rolfe said. "Without him, they wouldn't be done. He does it for the community."
Rolfe said the port "broke even" regarding expenses for the event, although her estimate did not include port staff time.
"Greg Chandler (port crew supervisor) was a major part of the outside organization," Rolfe said. "He donated two days of his time and went above and beyond his duties."
Rolfe also credited local resident Jack Doyle for his work in obtaining donations and giving away free kites to children.
"I want to thank all the sponsors," she said. "We will have the 12th annual kite festival next year, but it has grown to the point where it is going to be a committee organization. We were really short-handed for volunteers."
Rolfe said the feedback regarding the festival was "wonderful" and all the kite flyers were "very impressed" with how the community accepted them.
"The hotels were wonderful to the flyers," Rolfe said. "The flyers said these people in Brookings couldn't be nicer. They said it is the best festival they do all year long. The vendors said they were very happy."
Mark Lummas of the Bay Area Sundowners said he enjoys the friendly atmosphere of the Southern Oregon Kite Festival.
"The whole community comes out for the day and it's a lot of fun," Lummas said of his second year at the festival. "The space and wind are not good, but the flyers love to come and fly here."
Bay Area Sundowner Jeanette Lummas, at her second year at the kite festival, also said she loves the atmosphere of the kite-flying area.
"This is one of my favorite stops on the tour," she said. "Each year it is a great event. We go all over the world and this is one of the places we look forward to coming to."
Spectators Dick and Liz Weigman of Atwater, Calif., said the tricks performed by the kite flyers were "terrific" and they made a special trip to attend the event.
"I was on the Internet and saw the kite festival in Brookings," Dick Weigman said. "It pays to advertise."