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Ray's World Adventures 2002

My Fourth Kites on Ice
Madison, Wisconsin USA - February 2 - 3, 2002

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I had a much better flight to Madison this time around. This year it was Vancouver to Denver to Madison. Other years it has been Vancouver to Chicago to Madison. A lot of the International kite flyers that flew via Chicago were stranded for a few hours at O'Hare Airport because bad weather grounded the planes until the blizzard subsided. I remember my at first trip to Kites On Ice because myself and many other International flyers were stranded at O'Hare for 18 hours, and a flight from O'Hare to Madison is only 35 minutes. If you are looking for fun and games this is not the airport to be stranded in. To us who were stranded we now refer to it as O'Horror" Airport :)

This year due to the spring like weather that Madison had been having for a few days before the festival, the ice was a lot thiner than at the previous festivals, but this did not stop the festival to start right on schedule. The only disappointment was that we could not fly on our usual place on the lake in front of Monona Terrace because of open water that was showing along the edge of the lake. And beyond that the ice was dangerously thin. But no worry said lovely Linda Underwood, the organizer. We will go to plan B, which was on the same lake but at the other side at Olin-Turville Park where the ice was solid. Thousands of visitors strolled on the snow covered lake to admire and check first hand all the great creations that flyers from around the world had designed and built, many of which were especially made for this festival.

On this cold clear crispy weekend the sky was alive with kites of every color, shape, size and descripion above Lake Monona. There were Peter Lynn's penguins, cats, manta ray. Sven Weidhase and Andy Schmeelke's new creation -- a huge yellow bird, plus Aladin and many of there other spectacular creations. Gerard Clements very impressive cathedral window, Rolf and Claudia Zimmerman flying their collection of huge kites, lobsters, seahorses, stars, etc. Jos and Kaatje Valcke had a very impressive collection of giant kites. Scott Hampton with his super displays of banners and ground displays, and what a beautiful back drop Masaaki Modegi and Mrs Sato's trains of diamonds were, and there were so many others -- too many to mention in this article.

The only roped off area was the Sport Kite Demonstration arena where great all-day demonstrations that the spectators lapped up, featuring the famous Decorators from the UK, Team Chicago Fire, Team Windjammers, and yours truly. The winds were just about flyable on Saturday and every one worked hard to complete their routines. Sunday was a different matter for it was a great day for those that love strong wind, by late afternoon it was blowing 15-18mph. I loved it, this is really my bag.

Judy McCann the Sport Kite show coordinator who for the forth year in a row did another great job of organizing the sport kite demonstrations. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the best kite festivals in North America that is so well supported by the local people. Through out the day thousands of people swarmed through the Monona Terrace Community and Convention center where workshops were held on both days as well as kite displays and exhibitions. And on top of all this the fantastic Guildworks indoor flying team once again did an awsome job of entertaining the masses with their hypnotic kite routines.

These 3 days go fast and everyone is so busy doing their thing there is not much time to socialize, but it was all gung ho at the last nights farewell party held again at Essen Haus restaurant. Good food, good company and the traditional boot drinking is always a blast. I would say this year it was easily won by Sven and Andy from Team No Limit, "this is a perfect name for them" :)

It was an evening of laughter and tears, with everyone vowing to keep in touch with each other, and to return next year. The only sad thing about the evening was the news that Linda Underwood would not be organizing the Kites On Ice Festival in 2003 as she is getting married and moving to San Jose California. She will be surely missed as she is loved by everyone that has been lucky enough to have been invited to Kites On Ice. Linda and her wonderful team of volunteers have done a tremendous job, and in just a few short years, has made this a World Class Kite Festival. On behalf of all the kite flyers we wish you Linda and Mr Lucky every thing you wish for yourselves plus so much more.

"Thank you Linda for just being you."

Thank you for listening.


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