Despite two straight days of incredibly strong winds, the 10th Annual SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival 2014 on June 21 & 22 was a huge success.
With a different cast of Celebrity Kite Flyers each year, Windscape’s 10th birthday celebration featured a unique sky full of beautiful clouds and stunning kites. Colorful banners were even more prominent this year with artists like Scott Hampton, Gill Bloom, Donna Taylor, and others making a beautiful statement that could be seen a mile away. Holland’s Jan and Jolanda van Leeuwen filled the skies with kites shaped like school buses, tennis shoes, and little geisha, while Oregon residents David Gomberg and Ron Bohart had their hands full with huge kites and appliquéd foils. Festival attendees were entertained by acrobatic Rev performances by the 180Go team, as well as Canadian kite artist Normand Girard’s incredible little kites. England’s Gill and Jon Bloom showcased their talents with some truly impressive creations, and Barbara Freeberg Meyer’s stunning hand-made kites looked beautiful up in the air.
Jean Lamoureux and Michèle Bérubé amazed the crowd with their colorful stack of deltas while Michael and Fran Goddard showed off their hand painted rip stop masterpieces, and Tom White demonstrated traction kites in the high winds. Grand Champion kite builder John Pollock featured his extraordinary painted art kites, alongside impressive creations by other artists including Sharon Musto, Wayne Pattison, and Don Guick. Wisconsin’s Craig Wilson flew kites with attached cameras to capture amazing aerial views of the festival and Swift Current, and color commentator Don King provided a fantastic narrative to accompany the performances. Swift Current’s own Kite Doctor David Tuttle was busier than usual due to the extremely high winds, but without the weather, the festival wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting.
Along with the fantastic lineup of kite artists and flyers, the SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival features a wide variety of activities for kids. With fabulous stuff to do, amazing stuff to see, and fantastic stuff to learn, kids can stay busy all weekend long. The TD Bank kite making tent was packed with kids of all ages making over 500 decorated kites to fly, and the busy volunteers at the Kiwanis juggling tent instructed more than 1500 kids, and over 2500 faces were painted. Throughout the weekend, the main stage act Gustavo the Impossiblist entertained over 1000 happy kids and smiling parents.
International festivals like Windscape can only happen with the committed support of government, sponsors, donors, volunteers, celebrity kite flyers, and great audiences willing to spend part of their weekends supporting the event. This year, Windscape hosted just over 9000 people, with guests coming from England, India, Mexico, Korea, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Italy, Columbia, South Africa and France. Almost exactly half of the attendees were from the City of Swift Current, with the remainder being 39% from Saskatchewan and about 11% from the rest of Canada and the United States.
The dedication of Windscape’s incredible volunteers plays a huge role in the festival’s continued success, and this year, on Windscape’s 10th anniversary, that commitment was even more impressive. The 250+ volunteers covered over 2000 man hours to offer an exceptional experience for all participants.
Audience feedback this year was tremendous – 93% of those surveyed said they were very satisfied with the festival, 95% will attend again and 97.5% said they would recommend the festival to others. ‘Awesome’, ‘great’, and ‘amazing’ were used to describe the festival over and over again, as well as the adjectives ‘fun’, ‘affordable’, ‘friendly’, ‘unique’, ‘relaxed’. Other key words included ‘exciting’, ‘spectacular’, ‘beautiful’, ‘fantastic’, ‘outstanding’, ‘fabulous’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘incredible’.