Kites take to the skies today, Sunday

By Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer July 19, 2013 09:21 pm

Rod Thrall, of Newberg, tried getting his giant rainbow — an 18-by-12-foot kite with a 120-foot-long tail – back into the air after winds died Friday afternoon at the kite field at the Port of Brookings Harbor.
 

Colorful kites will be soaring, diving, careening, twirling, spinning and carving through the skies this weekend at the 21st annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival — Rainbows in the Sky — at the Port of Brookings Harbor kite field.

The event is different from other popular festivals in that it is an invitational, with the most diehard professionals from throughout the world manning the strings.

The event begins today (July 20) at 10 a.m.

On the field

Out on the field, five teams will demonstrate their skills, including the popular iQuad, Bay Area Sundowners, Too Much Fun, Rogue Slackers and Despo-Shampo.

Team iQuad — John Barresi, T.K. Barresi, Steve DeRooy, Willow Robin, “Bazzer” Poulter and “Monkey” Hathoway — formed in 2006 after attending their World Sport Kite Champions in Berck sur Mer, France. The team is continually lauded by the Kite Trade Association for its promotional efforts in the field.

The Bay Area Sundowners — Barry Nash, Gordon Osterlund, Kenny Osterlund and John Quitugua — have been soaring since 1980, crediting their popularity to flying “trains” — something that held them back in their early days of competition.

Too Much Fun, including Mark Lummas, Jeanette Lummas and Ron Despojado, feature tight choreography and foot-tapping tunes that keep crowds enrapt.

The Rogue Slackers — Brett Morris and James Christman — perform slack-line tricks and precision flying.

And the local team, Despo-Shampo — Ron Despojado and Susan Shampo — have flown throughout the world. Shampo remains the only woman to ever have won the Grand National Championship in the Masters Class Dual-Line Ballet. Despojado, dubbed the “ultimate showman,” has won multiple titles in ballet, precision and open class freestyle events.

Winds are forecast to be high enough to loft even the big kites in the air this year.

Big kites will be directed by David and Susan Gomberg, who have provided shows for Walt Disney and the Super Bowl, and Rod and Cindy Thrall of Newberg, who are in high demand at festivals along the West Coast and most recently in Thailand.

Single-line kite, individual fliers on quad lines and others on dual lines will show off their stacks and multiples in the event. 

Off the field

Kite enthusiasts know very well how popular the event has proven to be over the years.

Wild Rivers Motor Lodge reported it was full Thursday through Sunday, as were both campgrounds at Harris Beach and Loeb state parks.

The Best Western Beachfront Inn at Sporthaven Beach is booked all weekend, a representative said, and they have been busy fielding calls from people hoping to pick up cancelled reservations.

The 2013 Auction Banquet will feature kite-related items alongside gifts and services donated from the community. Auctioneer Dave Gomberg, also a kite flyer in the festival, will entertaining the dinner crowd with tales of kite festivals of the past, kite-flying and interesting facts about the items being auctioned.

Tickets are $25 per person or two for $45 and are available Saturday at the Kite Festival Headquarters tent. The banquet is Saturday at the Elks Lodge, beginning with a no-host bar at 5:30 p.m.

Revenue generated goes toward next year’s festival, July 19 and 20.

A children’s workshop will be held adjacent to the kite-flying field and provide supplies for kids wanting to create an aerial masterpiece of their own. Additionally, food and craft vendors will be on site.