Kite festival lifts off this weekend

— Created September 15, 2021 by Kathy Reed

By Shannon Bly

Whidbey Island Kite Festival returns to Camp Casey in Coupeville this Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Since 2000, kite flyers of all skill levels have gathered at Camp Casey to fly kites, take part in competitions, and enjoy the color and beauty of kites in the sky.

 “To feel the wind, to control the kite, to do different maneuvers and tricks, to fly the kite in a routine to music…is relaxing and challenging!” said Lisa Root, one of the longtime organizers of the festival. “You really appreciate the outdoors and the weather.”

The Kite Festival features many fun events for families and fliers of all skill levels. There will be two mass ascensions each day, where kite makers all fly kites they’ve created around a theme.

 “There are kite making events throughout the year where the fliers create new, colorful kites,” said Root. “The imagination that goes into making single line kites is amazing.”   

Saturday’s mass ascension categories are “Logo Colors Kites,” in which participants must include at least four of the six colors from the festival’s logo in their kites, and “Birds,” which includes kites inspired by or featuring a bird shape. On Sunday, the mass ascensions will feature kites built in or for a workshop such as the Fort Worden Kitemakers Conference, and kites inspired by images of, or concepts about, water. Mass ascensions will take place each day at 12:30 p.m.

Families can participate in a number of kids’ activities, including making their own kite. Running of the Bols, which takes place at noon Saturday and Sunday, is a foot race where kids under age 16 attach a circular kite to their bodies and run into the wind, lifting the kites into the air as they run to the finish line. There will also be a teddy bear drop event each day at 1 p.m. for children under age 10. The drop consists of a bear with a parachute, which is attached to a “pilot kite” and flown up high into the air. At its peak, the bear drops with its parachute and kids have to run to catch it before it hits the ground.

Sport kite fliers will also be on hand for lessons to show participants the basics. Learn the mechanics of flying a single or dual line kite, then join one of the challenge competitions taking place for fliers of all skill levels. Competition flying includes single and dual line kites in challenges such as “Showdown,” a trick move demonstration, and “Mystery Ballet,” where kites are flown in a routine set to music. An indoor kite flying demonstration will also take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening at the Coupeville High School gym.

All kite flying activities are weather dependent. Festival organizers are asking the community to wear masks at the events and maintain social distancing. For those who work up an appetite, the Central Whidbey Lions Club will be on site selling hot dogs and soda.

 “(Camp Casey) is great place to fly, with good wind and good fields” Root said.

More information and a schedule of events is available at