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Tuesday, 28 June 2011 15:24

Swift Current's Windscape blows fans away

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The sky above the southwest corner of Swift Current looked like an aquarium last weekend.

Fish, sharks and even a Scuba diver could be seen hovering above the field. The Scuba diver wasn’t eaten however, as the aquarium was an example of the kind of air balloons and kites that can be flown at the Windscape Kite Festival.

The festival, which ran from June 25-26, featured kite flyers from all over the world who came to Swift Current to show off their kites and kite-flying abilities.

“It has been good,” said Shann Gowan, Windscape’s organizer. “We’ve had lots of people and the winds have been great, so we’ve been really happy.”

As with any kite festival, weather was a concern. For a brief period during the first day of the event, the wind became too strong for the kites, forcing the sky to become empty until the storm passed.

That, however, allowed the numerous children in attendance the opportunity to build their own kites, get their faces painted or temporary tattoos put on their arms or faces. It also gave people a chance to see Flyin’ Bob, a one-man three-ring circus.

People also had a chance to learn about how birds fly and purchase merchandise at various tents set up along Southwest Hill as well as the kinetic wind sculpture garden.

The wind delay proved to be the only thing which didn’t go right for the festival. Most people, however, stuck around in the tents and went back to flying their kites under the bright sunlight which filled the sky for the rest of the event.

According to Gowan, people seemed to enjoy their time at the kite festival, and so did the flyers, whose numbers continue to grow.

Gowan credits the fact people like Canada and coming to the country for the festival’s success. She also believes there are a few differences which really make the Swift Current event stand out to kite flyers and people who are interested in coming to Windscape.

“I’m not a kite flyer, so I tried to look at it from an audience point of view rather than the kite-flyers’ point of view,” said Gowan. “A lot of (kite festivals around the world) are put on by the kite clubs and serve the kite flyers. I wanted this to be a spectacular event for people to see performance art as well as visual art in the sky.

“I took a different way of looking at it. I wanted the kite flyers to interact with people, so I made a passport booklet, which no other kite festival had ever seen, but it gets everybody talking to everybody else so you get to meet the kite flyers and find out how much fun it is here.”

After another successful kite festival, which ran in conjunction with the Long Day’s Night Music Festival, Gowan is hoping to continue to grow the event’s popularity and increase the number of flyers.

She’s even thinking about setting world records in the future.

“We have a whole bunch of rev kites up in the sky right now, which is kind of amazing,” she said. “The world record is 64 and I think the most we’ve ever had is 24, so we’re working our way up.”

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