Flying them high: Kite designer comes here for festivalBarb Meyer sat behind her Mini Cooper watching her kite fly in three different locations at the Jamestown Kite Festival.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Barb Meyer sat behind her Mini Cooper watching her kite fly in three different locations at the Jamestown Kite Festival.
The president of the American Kitefliers Association, Meyer has flown here for 15 for the past 18 years the event has been in existence.
Meyer also designs kites that are sold through Premier Kites. So it didn’t surprise her that three of her Mega Power Sleds 81 were flying high in Jamestown.
“I walked onto a kite field in India and there was my kite, and I walked onto a kite field in France and there was my kite,” Meyer said.
She and her husband, Alex, have flown kites around the globe, but every year the pair makes the pilgrimage to Jamestown for fellow kiters.
“I’m not going to see the people from Omaha in my backyard,” the Maple Grove, Minn., resident said.
Close to 2,000 people attended the event this weekend, according to Kite Festival organizers. Many like Meyer come from out of state to partake.
Fliers from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin filed the skies above Meidinger Park with colorful art that functioned in the wind.
Erratic winds made it a challenge Saturday as the breeze would blow and suddenly the air would be still.
“We have such a good time no matter what the weather is,” Meyer said. “We go out and have a fun time.”
Because of the unpredictable winds Meyer was only able to fly one of the 15 kites she brought to Jamestown.
The same kite even got away as a line snapped and Alex took off running into a nearby shelter belt to retrieve it.
Unlike art that is displayed in a gallery, kites must function as well as be visually pleasing.
“Every time you put it out there you run the risk that it might not come back,” Meyer said.
Still, she and her husband partake in the hobby that’s nearly 2,800 years old. Regardless of the culture, kite stories are abundant in nearly every country, she said.
“No matter what your abilities are, physical or mental, you can fly a kite,” Meyer said.
Across the park, Mike Kory and his Team 180GO were showcasing their abilities as the team of five flew kites in unison to music.
For Kory and others at the event, kite flying is a universal language. Kory even wrote a manual on team flying and he saw the universal language aspect firsthand in Japan.
The flyers there read the manual and knew the techniques before he arrived, even though they spoke no English.
“We just stand by each other and we’re friends right away,” Kory said.
Like Meyer, Kory has traveled the globe to fly kites. Team 180GO is comprised of hand-picked members that Kory found while traveling to kite festivals around the Midwest.
“The skill in kite flying is really important, but more important is the team camaraderie,” he said.
Kory is like the quarterback if kite flying was football. He stands in a line with his team and calls commands and tricks for the team to perform with music blaring in the background.
“We’ve been doing it a long time and it’s up to me to find a way to get around it,” Kory said.
His kite team travels the Midwest for kite festivals. They have been a fixture in Jamestown for the past couple of years.
Kory makes the 17 1/2-hour drive from Charleston, Ill., every June in part because of the people.
“I love this place the people are so supportive and fun,” he said.
Meyer agrees that while kiters have their own community, the one here in Jamestown embraces them.
“It speaks to what a cool community Jamestown is,” she said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org