Niagara Windriders Newsletter

The Official Newsletter of the Niagara Windriders Kitefliers Association, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

Monday, August 04, 2008

Canal Days 2008 .... WOW! What a Show!

The 16th annual Canal Days 2008 was a HUGE success! We had great weather, it was sunny, HOT, and there was wind, well sort of. At the start of the day, the winds were coming from the north. That meant that is was very fussy, coming through the trees that are in the car show section of the park. None the less, there was wind. As things were gearing up, kiters arrived from all over. There were kiters from the kite clubs in southern Ontario, Toronto Kite Fliers, Kitchener Waterloo Wind Climbers, Royal City Fun Flyers, South Coast Kite Conspiracy and the Renegade Strings Kite Club. There were kiters from the US, Great Lakes Kitefliers Society, Ohio Society for the Elevation of Kites and New York Kite Enthusiasts. The Windjammers from Michigan were the special guests, and boy did they put on a show!
As the day progressed, we were entertained several times with their skills and beauty of the dynakites, looping and chasing each other. Watching them as a team, not just their kites, was was a spectacle in itself. It proved just how skilled and talented they are. Here's a video of them.
The day moved on and kites of all shaped were brought out, flown and then put away so that another one could come out and play. There was even "line laundry" of all shapes and sizes.
I counted at least 2 of Tyrone's kites that fell victim to the nasty north wind. Even the tail of my Crossdeck ended in a wet ending to flight. Luckily, all the kites and tails that went for a swim were recovered safely.
With the wind from the north, Gary thought he would try to get an Octopuss in the air. Here's a video of that.
Pizza arrived for the hungry at around 12:30, and it was gone before you knew it.
After lunch, we had the annual "Running of the Bowls" which was won by a member of NYKE.
We also had a "surprise" fly over by a WWII British Spitfire. He circled the flying field twice and then took off over the lake. I could just imagine what a great view he had from up there.
Mayor Vance Badaway dropped in to thank everyone who came out and for helping make Canal Days such a success! We also had the official Town Crier welcome all who attended. At this point we were ready for the Grand Ascension. I'm sure the spectators were in awe with how many kites we can fly at one time in that field!
Here's a video of that!
When you fly all day, sometimes your legs get tired, here's what you do!
There was a themed part of the afternoon, "The Aquarium in the Sky". We have to thank Mother Nature for turning the wind around so it was coming off the lake. This provided the perfect conditions for all the giant inflatable kites to take to the air.
Yes, that's THREE octopi in a row! There were 3 fish, a seal and a scuba diver also. There were so many fish in the air, I thought "who turned the world upsidedown?". It was amazing!
With all that happening, Phillip Jones was assembling his award winning circlular kite than won the grand prize at the Smithsonian Kite Festival. It's based on a design by Alexander Graham Bell, and had a picture of Mao Tse Tung in the middle. The theme of that was to celebrate the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
With the wind at 18 to 20 kms, not only was it difficult to assemble, but difficult to keep from snapping apart. There was an issue with some inferior cable ties not staying together. With 2 attempts to get it flying, we got substitute ties from Bob White (that man has everything in his motorhome). Phillip decided to attempt a flight without the mural of Mao.
Look at Phillip holding on! With a successful flight without the chairman, Phillip decided it would be a shame not to try it as the kite was intended to be flown. We quickly added the centre panel and put it up again! Here's the view Phillip had with his kite in the air.
With a big smile on Phillip's face, Bob took over for a short time. I also got the chance to hang on, that was a great opportunity and a real struggle with the force of the pull.
That pretty much wrapped up the flying portion of the day, now time to pack up and eat.
After the barbeque, it was time for the awards. Bob made up a plaque commemorating the work of the Aerial Experiment Association headed by Alexander Graham Bell. 2008 is the centenary of the AEA and it's work that aided in the history of Canadian aviation and the flight of the Silver Dart. The plaques were prizes given to deserving individuals for things that Bob made up as he went along. Dr. Jones got one for the best "Alexander Bell Crown Kite" and the Windjammers each got one for the Most Dramatic Team (Thanks guys for such a great show!). Several other kiters received plaques for such things as "Kite Flying Chicken"; Kerry Kucharenko, "Most Loaded Kite Vehicle"; Lucy Jonkman, Kerry St. Dennis, Kathy Holt, Bill Peart, "Night Kite Trains"; Jim & Barb Gibson, "Most Attractive Couple (Flying on a Pole)"; Todd Sweet & Ellen Reen, "Running of the Bols"; Jim Peck, "Most Aquatic Kites"; Gary Mark & Michelle Wellsford, 1st Coroner to Attend"; Thom Shanken, "Going Above the Call of Duty for Helping Out"; Paul and Mary Kort, and "Hosting the Most Visiting Kiters in One Backyard"; Fred and Donna Taylor.
We also had the organizer of the car club stop by to thank us for putting on a great show. He wanted to do this because we share the park with the cars, and they appreciated the cooperation between the 2 events. Having a classic car myself, I know there is only so much you can look at other cars during a show. Having the kites there gave them something else to do other than looking at Joe's Chevy SS or Pete's new Charger.
There were also plenty of door prizes handed out. The grand prize went to Ted Shaw...again! It was a beautiful Boreal Kite, the first of it's kind. Gary Mark of Blue Sky Kites provided most of the other prizes. There were lots of happy winners, especially one of the Windjammers. His family of four did a clean sweep!
Everything was wrapped up by about 7:30, we were stuffed with food, we were tired, we had a fabulous day of sunshine, we fly every kind of kite imaginable, but most of all, we put on one hell of a show! Seeing all the kites in the air, seeing familiar faces of those you see once or twice a year, having great weather for the day makes an event like this a truely memorable time. I can't wait for next time and I hope it can be just as wonderful as this one was! Again thanks to Rowan Shirkie for sending me some pictures that I used, his style is unique and it's appreciated. Thanks to all the kiters who travelled from far and wide to entertain the good people who watched. Thanks to all who helped with the various tasks throughout the day and evening. Thanks to Fred, Paul, Greg and his son for barbecueing. Thanks to Nancy, Mary, Donna, Peggy and Stephanie for the duties they did before, during and after the event. Last, but not least, Thanks to Bob White and Vaino Raun for the core organization of the time leading up to the day, as well as during the event itself. The show could not go on without all of your help. I hope I didn't forget anyone, if I did let me know and I'll add you in.
See you all either in September or next year at Canal Days!