‘LBI FLY’ Kite Festival Sets Sail for Columbus Day Weekend
The International Kite Festival “LBI FLY” takes place again this year on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 7 through 10 on Long Beach Island.
Most of the events happen during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Ship Bottom beaches between Eighth and Ninth streets; but there are other special events. An indoor fly is scheduled for Friday night at the LBI School in Ship Bottom, as well as a night flying demo Sunday in Barnegat Light. Buggy races are on in Beach Haven, and a High Flyers Art Market and Kids Kite Making will be at Bayview Park in Long Beach Township.
To the question “Who is pulling the strings to get all these marvelous kites up in the air for the enjoyment of our guests and Islanders?,” we have these answers:
The Dallmers, Mike, Cecilia and Mike Jr., from New Jersey, have been flying and building kites for well over 30 years and have amassed a very large collection of kites. Their main show kites include a large rubber ducky named “What” that they made themselves; it is made of 300 yards of fabric and took over 300 hours to make. “Violet” is a large spiky ball that rolls around on the beach before lifting heavenward. “Camelot” the dragon is a prize-winning kite.
Although flying kites is their passion, when not on the field they can also be found working behind the scenes, supporting festivals with their unique talents; Cecilia is the current treasurer of the American Kites Flyers Association, and Mike is the president of South Jersey Kite Flyers.
Canadian Normand Girard’s first festival was in 1997 in Quebec, where he became enamoured of single-line flying kites. He had studied architecture, so he adores creating kites.
“It’s always the form that comes first. I try to express calm, serenity and peace while using harmony in the minimalist forms that are peaceful to look at. Kites are more than just kites – they are ‘animated wind sculptures.’”
Will Smoot from Virginia had an entirely different experience getting into kiting. He rediscovered kites during a trip to the beach and watched a child he was chaperoning launch one. “Sadly it went into a nose-dive, so I headed over to where it was going to crash. Just before it hit the sand, it took off and flew horizontally away from me. It was then I noticed it had two strings attached to it ,and I realized the young man was actually steering it. Wow! The next day we were going into Myrtle Beach and we stopped at the kite store on the beach, and I had to have one of them. I also got a lesson with a stack of five kites.
“Well, trip after trip I added more kites to my stack, plus purchasing some single-line kites. Birthdays brought long, skinny packages, and eventually I needed some way to carry everything. On one of these beach trips someone on the beach asked if I sold kites. That’s when I realized how bad I had the fever.”
Smoot will be showcasing his sport kites, fighter kites, Rokkakus and single-line kites on the beaches of LBI.
“What I really enjoy is helping someone else discover, or rediscover, kite-flying.”
Doug Stout from Byram Township, N.J., has been flying kites for over 50 years. He started flying stunt kites during the summer of 1986 in Stone Harbor. Using his engineering background, he began designing stunt kites in 1990. During the 1990s, Stout competed in AKA dual-line stunt kite events with his Falcon, Talon and then Raptor stunt kites, moving up the ranks to become a successful masters class competitor. During the summer of 2010, he started flying and designing single-line glider kites, due to low wind conditions in northwest New Jersey. The results of his design efforts are a series of swept forward wing single-line glider kites called the Bird of Prey, with wingspans ranging from 18 to 96 inches. Stout uses his Bird of Prey 36 for Indoor Single Line Ballet events, and his larger Bird of Prey glider kites for outdoor demonstrations at kite festivals. He won the AKA Northeast Conference for Indoor Single Line Ballet competition in 2015 and 2016. Stout makes his kites available to others through his kite company, Falcon Aero Designs.
Come out to the various free events over the FLY LBI festival to meet the kite flyers and enjoy watching them “pull the strings” of their special kites. Check out the website at lbifly.com or facebook.com/lbifly for the specific schedule of events through the weekend.
— Pat Johnson