29 years ago, seven enthusiasts met on the island of Fanoe, Denmark and established the most unique of world kite events. This annual meeting would not be a “festival” in the traditional sense: no sponsorships, no paid attendees, and, for the most part, no formal schedule. From those original kite crazies, the event grew to host well over 8,000 fliers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Kitefliers’ Meeting has held steady with over 5,000 attendees to the present and it maintains a special spirit. People come because they want to come. They pay their own way, and they fly kites at their leisure.
Original founders and organizers Wolfgang Schimmelpfennig and Rainer Kregovsky, along with fellow kitemaker Til Krapp, have attended all 30 of the Meetings. Rainer has celebrated milestone birthday numbers 50, 60, and 70 on the island with kite friends, while Wolfgang has unveiled new creations throughout the Meeting’s history (including Big Boss, Snakey Jak, and now a new power-lifter).
It struck me while attending this year’s Meeting that there are others who have witnessed all 30 Meetings: Claudia Kregovsky and Helga Krapp! Both laughed as they recalled the first years when their husbands and others would fly kites all night long and then start the process again the next day.