Friday, March 11, 2011

Kite Events for Maine in 2011

We are just getting ready for the Maine 2011 kite flying season and have several special events for our local kite community.   Both the Noreasters ( ) and KONE  ( ) are invited to join in these three events.

First will be the Wells Reserve EcoDay in Wells Maine on April 16.  We have been invited to fly kites in a large field on the Laudholm Farm.  This is a nice kite venue, a hill top field with views of Wells Beach to the East and Mt Agamenticus to the West. We went to their first EcoDay last fall and had a good time.  This event should be even bigger, more displays and demonstrations.

The next event will be in Owls Head Maine at the Owls Head Transportation Museum for their annual Kites Bikes and Trikes Family Festival on April 23.  Here we will be flying kites on and near the taxi way to the museum.  We have been there several times and they make us feel at home there.  It is worth the drive up there just for the museum where they have a great collection of cars and airplanes.*KiteFest09.html

Lastly, in the special events for this Spring is the Bug Light Kite Festival on Saturday, May 14  We held the first last year, strong wind did not allow the great kite display we can produce but we are hoping for better weather this year.

All the local event info is listed on the calendar page,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The 2010 National Kite Month started in Maine with the Noreasters Kite Club's Rokkaku kite fly on April 3 at Bug Light Park in South Portland..  We couldn't have asked for better weather in early April.  We had a  nice southerly breeze at around 10 mph and temps in the mid 60s.  The wind held steady for most of the day, perfect for most of our kites, allowing for more kites and few tangles.  At one point we counted 16 rokkakus in the air at one time along with many other kites.

Bug Light Park will be hosting the Bug Light Kite Festival, sponsored by the South Portland Historical Society on May 8, 2010.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Early start of the kite season

This weekend was a great unofficial start for the kite flying season in Maine.  50 degree weather brought out dozens kite flyers to Bug Light Park in South Portland.  At least a dozen of them were members of the NorEasters kite club. This was the time to get out new kites for the first flight as well as old favorites.  March 20 will be our real start to the season with the KONE fly at Hampton Beach across from the Ashworth Hotel.

April is National Kite Month and in Maine we will be celebrating the season with kite flying every Saturday in several locations including Bug Light Park in South Portland and Pine Point Beach in Scarborough.  In addition we have the annual Easter Kite Fly in Fort WIlliams Park in Cape Elizabeth.  I think that may have been my first kite fly ever, way back in 1990.  For more dates, check out the calendar at the Noreaster web site,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kite making in South Portland Maine

For the second year, we held a kite making workshop aimed at the beginner. I called it Kitemaking 101. The new kite makers make simple diamond kites with ripstop nylon and added an appliqued design to the kite.

We had 6 people making kites, of that, 3 of them made their first kite and one made their second kite. Some of the participants were fairly new to sewing so this was a nice easy design to work with. They started with pre-cut pieces, hemmed the kite, added spar pockets and then used another color or two for their applique. To finish, they made tails out of scrap nylon.

We had a great venue for the workshop. Leo A reserved the Clubhouse, a multi purpose room at the River View Apartment complex in South Portland, thank you Leo.

This was the Noreaster's second kite making workshop this winter, Tony O hosted a box kite workshop in January, so we should be scheduling a kite fly for all the workshop participants this Spring.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rokkaku Kite Fly

We got our 2009 National Kite Month started this past weekend with a Rokkaku kite fly. This was a Noreaster kite fly as well as a KONE monthly fly. Nice turn out, more than 20 kiters from Maine, Mass and NH, and most of them brought rokkakus to fly. For those of you unfamilier with kites, a rokkaku is a traditional Japanese kite, six sided, a fairly strict ratio of height to width but no real limit on size. They can be used for kite fighting but, unlike Indian and Pakistan style fighting where the fights are one on one, rok battles are usually mass battles, with 20 or more kites in the sky at once, trying to knock the other kites from the sky. But this was not a kite fighting day, just a friendly day of kite flying.

For early April, we did have great weather. The sky cleared mid morning and the sun warmed everything up. It did take a while for the wind to get going (and the forecast was for strong winds!) but once it got started the kites went up and stayed up.

Tony O and I both finished rokkakus in time for the fly. I finished mine the day before, a real last minute push. The crane kite was quite the project, much more detail than my previous kites, but lots of fun. As you can see from the picture, it turned out nicely. Tony O also finished a great kite arch, started just after the kite workshop we held in January. Two other workshop participants are working on archs so look forward to an arch fly.

Now that we got a real taste of warm weather, we are hoping more of it. Next week we plan to gather at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth to fly kites on Easter Sunday. That has been a tradition for many years and we hope to continue it next weekend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Taste of Spring

Wow, what a day for early March in Maine! Sunny and the temperature reached the 50s. We hadn't planned on flying a kite but it was too nice a day to ignore. We grabbed the mini sled we made for Hank and took it out for a test fly. Hank has some giant flow form kites, 125, 252, and 450 square feet, all in the same color pattern, yellow, orange, red and black and I made a mini sled that matched his color pattern, complete with the banner tail. It is about 2 square feet instead of 450. We hadn't flown it yet so we thought we could fly it and get some pictures before handing it over to Hank.

When we got to Bug Light Park, we were surprised to see that most of the field was clear of snow. A mile away at our house, there is 2 feet of snow in the yard. We got the kite in the air and took some pictures, relaxing in the warm spring day and all of a sudden I noticed someone with a kite just over the hill. Easy to recognize, even from 100 yards was the pretty light blue of Hank's KONE rokkaku. Yep, he had the same idea we had, too nice a day not to fly a kite. Hank was out with his granddaughter Meagan and they hoped to fly his newest kite, Rolf Zimmerman's Owl. The wind was a bit too light for it but it did look good.

By the way, Hank was quite surprised by the mini sled.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great book for kite makers

William Farber's kite making book, Painting With Light and Air is now available from the Drachen Foundation. My wife got a copy for me last year but she had to deal with international money orders and shipping from Australia. She did get the first copy in North America but it cost a bit. Now it is a simple click and you can get it for $35.

In the book, William Farber illustrates his method of creating wonderful pictures on kites using ripstop. His prize winning kites are many colored pieces of flying artwork. The kite on the right is one of two he made for the kite festival in Dieppe France in 2008. He gives step by illustrated step instructions for his modular method of kite construction, very much worth learning if you want to make more complex designs on kites. They don't have to be as elaborate as this one to benefit from his method.

I have found myself referring to the book before and during my kite construction, before to get some reminders of his design and color teachings, during to help with construction details. There are lots of great nuggets of information hidden in the pages from how to make perfect corners with your zig zag stitches to what to look for when buying a sewing machine. Little details that you might never think about spring from the book and into your kite building technique. I built a sewing table extension as suggested in the book. He even gives instructions on sharpening and tuning scissors! This is in addition to his chapter on design and one on the details of working with ripstop. To top it off, he includes detailed instructions on the building of two kites, one a large rokkaku, the other a small rectangular kite,

While it is not a book for beginner kite makers, they could certainly benefit from the book. Much of the book's information can be useful for kite makers of all abilities. The sewing tips and the chapter on working with ripstop is good for all of us. The details of his more elaborate kite making methods can simply inspire us. And if all that is not enough, he includes color photos of more that 20 of his kites

The book is available from the Drachen Foundation for $35.
Painting with Light and Air

The Drachen Foundation is a non profit organization devoted to sharing knowledge of kites worldwide. Their store includes books and kite making materials and the money helps support the organization.