This is a festival that grew from about 40 invited flyers in its first year to over 140 flyers in its second. The local organization in Uiseong did a fine job when it came to transportation, lodging, food, and field organization in this city known for its garlic and apples. Many countries were represented with large contingents from China, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Flyers from as far away as South Africa, Australia, France, and the US brought special creations to fly in what were expected to be strong, cold winds.
As it turned out, both the Saturday and Sunday festival dates were characterized by unseasonably light winds, with Saturday being the type of day in which the sky changed every thirty minutes as new wind brought new kites. On Sunday, there was not a gust to be found and only Pierre Fabre’s ‘Aero Flage’ was up to the challenge – somehow it flew beautifully in the perfectly calm winds. Only the festival hot-air balloons provided lift for a few other unfortunate inflatables.
In a festival that has grown so quickly, there were, indeed some missteps and glitches, but overall, I think great credit should go to the organizers for sculpting a world-class festival here in Korea’s farming country. Obviously, the city is very supportive of the effort as volunteer translators, kite helpers, commercial booths and food providers all served to make time spent on the kite field safe, comfortable, and conducive to great kite flying.