High-flying fun

(Above) Andy and Bella Hammell came  from Rochester, Minn. to enjoy the Color The Wind Kite Festival. -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.

by Michelle Watson

“Let’s go fly a kite up to the highest height!  Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring up through the atmosphere up where the air is clear.  Oh, let’s go fly a kite!”

Mary Poppins, along with Larry and Kay Day, not only know how to fly a kite, but how to have a lot of fun doing it.

The Color the Wind Kite Festival filled the crystal blue sky Saturday with kites galore.

“It was an amazing day,” said Larry.  “I’d say this was the most successful event yet, with everything from the weather to the large crowds and smiling faces.”

Thanks to national coverage by CBS Sunday Morning last year, the word spread about this special event and brought thousands to frozen Clear Lake to see the colorful display.

Day said he would guess the crowd to be around 10,000.  People from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California, Oklahoma and Georgia, to name a few states, were in attendance.

Color the Wind was a sure cure for the cabin fever that has seen Iowans either submerged in sub zero weather or frigid winds and blowing snow.  The day was beautiful, with clear blue skies and puffy white clouds overhead and crunchy, white snow underfoot.  Spectators of all ages ventured onto the ice to see the various kites.  Everyone had special favorites.

Gabe Garner, age eight, from Clear Lake, liked the stunt kites the best.  “They were so cool, the way they moved together.  I also liked the astronauts and the big squid.”

Stephanie Anderson, of Crystal Lake, brought her young family. “We enjoyed it so much.  There was such a large variety of kites.  My little ones enjoyed all the fish kites that were on their level.  It was a perfect day for weather.  Who could ask for more?”

Maycee Wilkie, a freshman at Clear Lake High School, enjoyed the festival for her first time.  “I’d definitely go again.  I really thought it was neat.  I liked the kites that were all in a row the best.”

A lack of wind may have been the only downfall of the day.  Some of the larger kites weren’t able to fly.

“We could have had a little more wind,” said Day.  “But the crowd was there and everyone was having fun, so it wasn’t a huge deal.”

Day said there were an estimated 45-50 kite flyers on the ice.  A highlight for the group was a pizza dinner Day hosted at the Cypress Lounge in the Surf Ballroom on Saturday night.

“The group really enjoyed seeing the Surf Ballroom,” said Day.  “We had one kite flyer who flew an indoor kite in the ballroom.  That had to have been a first.  We also all stood on the stage and had our picture taken.  It was a special night to top off a special day.”

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