Wednesday, 12 June 2013 15:58

Windscape Kite Festival will take to the skies on June 22 and 23 in Swift Current

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Organizers and volunteers are hard at work gearing up for the 9th annual Windscape Kite Festival, which will take to the skies on June 22 and 23. The festival will present flyers from all around the world showcasing their incredible kite creations and techniques.

 

“Some of the best flyers in the world are coming this year, and we've got several different categories of flyers,” explained Cultural Festivals Coordinator Shann Gowan. “It's a huge lineup, and we will have performers on the demo field from 10am to 5pm each day, with our announcer Don King keeping the day moving along. The schedule is totally dependent on the wind, but there will always be something exciting going on.”

 

Flyers will be attending from all across North America, and some as far away as Germany. The festival will feature kites as big as houses in the shape of Sesame Street characters, some of the best art kites in North America, and several teams of sport kite flyers who fly quad- and dual-line kites choreographed to music. The festival will also present Tristan Underwood, a young flyer from BC who was featured on Canada's Got Talent as one of the best indoor kite flyers in the world.

 

“We also have a great children's performer this year who comes from the Green Fools Theatre in Calgary, Gustavo the Impossiblist. He will put on a great family entertainment show twice a day at 11am and 3pm, and is also bringing stilt walkers with him,” Gowan said. “Robin Poitras with New Dance Horizons will also be back again this year, performing with her silks out in the wind once each day.”

 

While the festival itself is free of charge, the main stage performance costs only $5 per person, and the abundance of children's activities are available at a nominal charge. Kids can build kites and paper airplanes, play at the bubble station, get their faces painted, find their way through the straw bale maze, learn to fly a sport kite, and even take part in the new juggling tent.

 

“This year, we have a brand new tent sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, where kids can come in and try their hand at all kinds of juggling tricks,” noted Gowan. “We have peacock feathers to balance, plates to spin, and balls to throw around, so kids can come and see if they have any natural aptitude for this kind of stuff. It will be a great addition to the festival this year.”

 

The festival is a great way for multigenerational families to spend a day together outside, enjoying the kites and taking in the spectacular Saskatchewan sky. With plenty to do for people of all ages, Gowan is anticipating another great turnout of approximately 10,000 people.

 

“Last year, we had 8,000 people, and almost half of those people came from out of town,” she explained. “Statistics are that when a person attends an event out of town, they will spend $250 per day that they attend, so the economic spin-off from the festival last year was about $1 million of new money brought into the community. We've got headlines in magazines as far away as Australia and all over the US, so we are getting press out of this festival all over the world. It makes Saskatchewan and Swift Current look really good.”

 

The festival would not be possible without the help of volunteers. Each year, Gowan recruits more than 350 volunteers to help out with not only the festival itself, but also setting up and taking down the tent when the weekend is over.

 

“It's a fairly large amount of people to come up with on a busy weekend in June, but we've had a great turnout so far,” she said. “We are still looking for more, though, we are always looking. It takes a lot of work to put this festival on.”

 

Anyone interested in getting more information about the festival or signing up to be a volunteer can visit their website at www.windscapekitefestival.ca.

 

“This is a festival for the people of Swift Current, and I hope everyone comes to check it out,” Gowan said. “There aren't a lot of festivals for free anymore, and people should take advantage of that. This is a great festival that celebrates the wide open prairies, big sky, and abundant wind here in Swift Current, so it's a nice fit for our community.”

Read 2119 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 16:04
Jessi Gowan

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