Scott Skinner
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Some of kite flying’s most enduring characters were invited to San Vito, Sicily for a first-time festival this May. Headlined by Peter Lynn, Ray Bethell, George Peters, Martin Lester, Robert Trepanier, Claudio Capelli, and Ramlal Tien, the invited kite fliers brought large and striking festival kites sure to attract large crowds. Additionally a group of first-rate kite artists attended and flew their newest creations. In a small flying arena, highlighted by Capelli’s informed commentary, the kites were spotlighted in a show that lasted 9 days.

At this beautifully organized first festival, fliers were taken in small groups throughout the island to fly their kites in startlingly beautiful environments. Stark hillsides, ocean-fronts, salt-flats: all were backdrops to the kites of Michael Alvarez, Pierre Fabre, Jose Sainz, and members of the Drachen Syndikat. The festival poster is a wonderful image by noted photographer Hans Silverster and features the kites of Ruth Whiting and Tim Elverson. Here were the best kites and kite fliers doing what they do best; showing their kites to a new audience in a picture-perfect setting.

The fact that struck me the most during the course of this fantastic week is that great kites really do have a lasting, positive impact. For example, Martin Lester’s scubadiver has been around for the better part of ten years, as has Peter Lynn’s ray and Pierre Fabre’s “Michelin man.” But these are still fantastic show kites that have instant and lasting appeal. Michael Alvarez’s box kites, Jose Sainz’s Aztec calendar, and George Peters’ flying men are still show-stoppers that kite crowds love to see.

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