Gone With the Wind Classic, March 4-5, 2000

Once again, Tybee Island, Ga hosted a small group of WACKOS for the Gone With The Wind Classic. Reid Smith and his cousin, Chris Smith, joined Jim and Kathren Martin and Marty Groet on the first kiting trip of 2000.  On Friday night, we all convened at MacElwee's Seafood Restaurant for what is becoming a traditional WACKOS event, a pre-Tybee Island kite festival dinner. Although wary of the weather forecast, all were full of anticipation for the coming festival.

We shared one end of the beach with Gary Resnick, Dirk Eliker and Sandy Fowler from the Treasure Island Sport Kite Klub. Dirk and Sandy own the Kitesville USA shop in Indian Rocks Beach and Gary is one of the friendliest and most knowledgeable kite people around. As before, we saw some old kiting friends and met some new ones from all over the Southeast.

 Check out the pictures below. All of the pictures below are thumbnail (small) images of the full size picture - click on the thumbnail to see the full size picture.

I found these pictures sufficiently interesting to feature them here rather than mix them in with the others.
Okra Central at the North Beach, Tybee Island, Ga.
Jim and Gary's arches graced the South end of the beach.
While more diamond arches and a flexi-arch grace the North end.
Entry to Okra Central - Anyone taking the North beach access had this view on Saturday. Late Saturday afternoon, Jim said he wished he could have gotten a shot of a freighter under the arch but was disappointed he hadn't seen a freighter all day. Saturday night, I showed him this picture I took earlier in the day.  I thought the black and white lighthouse and the black and white kite in the sky made an interesting picture. This was Sunday afternoon.
Saturday and Sunday of the festival were very different days! Saturday started with an early morning (about 3 a.m.) thunderstorm and torrential rains, but the front moved through and the skies cleared about 10 a.m. The winds were brisk in the morning but by the middle of the afternoon, they were blasting! Gusts up to 26 mph (or better), made kite flying almost impossible. Jim and Marty struggled to bring down the Sutton 30 and the arch while Gary Resnick had to hope his 100 square foot foil would nose over and fall from the sky since the winds were too strong to try and pull the kite down by hand. It was pretty amazing to be at a kite festival with TOO MUCH wind. There aren't many pictures because everyone was busy trying to get stuff out of the sky. The competitive aspect had pretty much been canceled and many kiters had packed up their stuff and gone back to their hotels to try and repair the damage from the very strong winds.

These pictures were taken early Saturday.

Okra Central on Saturday morning. The streamer flags on the Sutton 30 made a big impact in the sky and were seen up and down the beach. Jim discusses the George Peters hornet kite with Chris. Kathren finds a little personal peace and contemplation amid the hubbub.
Did I mention the wind was blowing pretty hard? This was one of the stronger gusts in the early afternoon. By late afternoon, these were the milder winds. You can also see how the arch kites have flattened out in the strong winds.  Gary's small octopus flies under the combined arch in a calmer moment. Okra Central has already been partially taken down to keep it from flying away. You'll see there weren't many people left on Saturday afternoon after the 'gale' winds started. But notice the two banners in the middle of the picture - they were in Saturday nights auction. You'll see them again later.

Sunday turned to be a perfect day. Sunny and warm with light breezes in the morning, increasing to about 7 - 8 mph by mid afternoon.  It was a completely different festival from Saturday with everyone attending in a very good mood. Lots of kites in the air and many more people coming to look at all the kites and talk with the kite fliers. It was very difficult for those who had to leave the festival for the drive home.
One of the WACKOS decided he couldn't live without the pink and white banner. I tried to catch Kathren flying her Jiggly Puff fighter but it was too fast. Click here for a better picture of Kathren and her fighter. Here's an interesting kite from Level One flying over the banners at the sound tent.  On the right is one of the local channel's photographer taking some video of Jim's recently finished Circoflex kite.
Gary's Sutton 125, Marty's snowflake and Jim's circoflex. The big foils belong to a small group of kite buggiers at the festival. But with the crowds on Sunday, they didn't get too much riding done. The black and white banner also got sold Saturday night. But Sandy and Dirk grabbed this one. If you ask the manufacturer of the dragonfly kite, you'll hear that it will be the hottest kite of 2000. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
The pictures on the right show how large the crowds got on Sunday afternoon. Many people walked around and talked to some of the kite flyers to learn more about some of the unusual kites being flown. There were lots of families with children flying new kites they had bought in the sales booth.

Late Sunday afternoon, Marty was able to hold the Sutton 125 easily due to the light winds. If he had tried that Saturday, he'd have been "Gone With The Wind"!

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