Where the wind blows this summer

Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current

Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current

I can’t believe it’s already six years since I visited Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current. I was thinking about that earlier today, because the festival takes place on a weekend as close as possible to the longest day of the year, part of the Long Day’s Night Music Festival. This year, Windscape is June 24 and 25. Long Day’s Night is June 22 to 25.

I’d like to go back, but it won’t be this year, I’m afraid. Next weekend is already spoken for.

Windscape had been running annually for six years when I was there in 2011, but its roots go back to 1998, when the Art Gallery of Swift Current curated an exhibition of art by Canadian kite builders.

“We did not do it again until 2005 when I began organizing it to complement my music festival, which had been running since 2003,” Windscape coordinator Shann Gowan told me when I interviewed her for Westworld Saskatchewan Magazine after my visit.

The best thing about any events in Saskatchewan is all the wonderful, interesting people you meet. At Windscape, they blew in from all over.

Don Pell, a blown glass and hand forged ironwork artist, runs Wingnut Enterprizes in Bellevue, about a four-hour drive from Swift Current. Don brought his kinetic wind sculptures to Windscape. He loves the wind, he said. Before moving to Saskatchewan Don lived in New Brunswick, and California before that.

“The winds are strong in Swift Current,” he said, but there’s nothing like a West Texas wind! A West Texas wind has been known to topple transport trucks.”

Don Pell, Wingnut Enterprizes, Bellevue, Saskatchewan, and one of his kinetic wind sculptures. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Don Pell, Wingnut Enterprizes, Bellevue, Saskatchewan, and one of his kinetic wind sculptures. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Bud Taylor drove in from Airdrie, Alberta. “Kite is my middle name,” he says. He started kite flying and building in 1989, and loved it so much he turned it into a full-time business, The Kite Guys.

Bud Taylor, owner of The Kite Guys, Airdrie, Alberta. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Bud Taylor, owner of The Kite Guys, Airdrie, Alberta. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Mike Shaw made his way up from Bismark, North Dakota, saying he gets to Windscape every other year. He travels around to different festivals, where he is appreciated as a celebrity flyer.

Celebrity flyer Mike Shaw from Bismark, North Kakota. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Celebrity flyer Mike Shaw from Bismark, North Kakota. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Bernhard Dingwerth and Andreas Napravnik came all the way from Germany, to fly their huge inflated kites shaped like animals. Bernhard travelled to 14 countries the previous year, including Vietnam and Malaysia, and planned to fly kites in Liechtenstein and South Africa before the year was out.

“It’s fun. It’s my hobby,” he said. “Travelling (to fly kites) is different than being a tourist. You are with the people, not at ‘tourist’ places. Kite fliers from around the world are like a big family.”

Bernhard Dingwerth and and Andreas Napravnik of Germany prepare kites for launch. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Bernhard Dingwerth and and Andreas Napravnik of Germany prepare kites for launch. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

 

Aligator and frog kites of Bernhard Dingwerth from Kassel, Germany. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

Aligator and frog kites of Bernhard Dingwerth from Kassel, Germany. Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

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Windscape Kite Festival, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (Darrell Noakes)

(Photograph by Darrell Noakes)

 

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