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Kites fly!

At past Southern Oregon Kite Festivals, the bear kite has taken effort to get it aloft. This year, weight and strength were needed to keep if from flying away.

Southern Oregon Kite Festival organizers are ecstatic about the attendance for the 22nd annual event this past weekend.

“We thought the attendance was the best ever since the inaugural kite festival,” said Emily Grimes, kite festival planning committee member. “And, what an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd we had, including people from other cities in Oregon, California, and surrounding states such as Idaho.”

And one factor that contributed to the success of this year’s festival was the wind. The Curry Coastal Pilot’s weather station reported an average breeze of 2 mph, with gusts to 11 mph on Saturday and 17 mph on Sunday. 

Mike MacDonald, festival chair, said, “We rarely have enough wind. 

Flier Ron Thrall was able to get his 70-square foot, Dean Jordan Airform high into the air. The gigantic, spinning, doughnut-shaped Bol kites were displayed and lofted off the ground, MacDonald said.  

A Rokakku kite battle among kite fliers took place on Sunday afternoon.

“That’s an event that can only take place when there is ample wind,” MacDonald said. “It’s always a thrill to see the 40-foot-tall Teddy Bear kite fly.  This year, the friendly-looking big bear had Goldilocks attached to it. 

Members of the community helped the event run smoothly. Marihelen Pitts-Campbell, volunteer coordinator, reported a little more than 100 volunteers worked the three days of the festival, including at the new indoor kite flying demonstration Friday evening in the Brookings-Harbor High School gym.  

 Volunteers helped at the port parking lot near the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce offices and at the Sporthaven RV Park to help coordinate loading and unloading shuttles. Lines were long enough at times to fill three buses. Volunteers also helped on the festival grounds, directing traffic, serving meals to kite fliers and helping children build kites.

Grimes added that “Everyone thought the hand-painted, original kite festival T-shirt logo by local artist Christina Olsen was one of the best designs ever.”

Many T-shirts were sold as were other items.

“The merchandise and food vendors were pleased with the event and all plan to return next year,” Grimes said. “The kite auction banquet on Saturday evening was well attended and highly successful.”

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