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Charting the Coast: Performing with toys of summer

What can you expect at the Southern Oregon Kite Festival?

Thousands of people will find out today and Sunday as the 21st Southern Oregon Kite Festival takes flight at what is now known as the Kite Field at the Port of Brookings Harbor. 

Certainly it’s a festival, with all the requisite vendor booths and crowds. But this one is something more: It’s a performance, with toys, on a lazy summer weekend, under the wide open sky, at the beach.

The top billing goes to the professional kite flyers; yes, they are people who get paid to fly kites.

What is their skill, their entertainment? I would call it painting the sky, but that ignores the music. Perhaps dancing in the sky. 

There’s no doubt that the kites involve whimsy and wonder. Humans have always envied anything that defies gravity, and enjoyed things that make the wind more visible.

Artistry is also involved as flyers illustrate both the wind and the music. Often, to get the kites moving they way they want them, there is a great deal of athletics on display.

I’m also suspicious of some sort of illusion or magic. Anyone who can fly a kite in a complete circle, or inside for that matter, must have something up their sleeves.

Being outdoors, the kite festival comes with very few rules; people come and go as they please, bring their own chairs, and sit where they would like. So sometimes I watch the kites, and sometimes the kite flyers. I wander off — sometimes to see the crowd, and sometimes to make sure the ocean is just on the other side of the beach. Some years I have simply driven around the venue because I was busy with other things.

This year, I get to spend more time at the Kite Festival because we want visitors to learn more about the Pilot’s new Go Wild mobile app. The Pilot has long been a proud sponsor of the Kite Festival.

While our friends have given the Pilot table space, I also hope to be out wandering the edge of the Kite Field so I can enjoy the show.

What can you expect at the Kite Festival? It’s one of those events where it can be too many things to list. Come see for yourself this weekend.

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