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Taking over the skies

Huntington Beach Pier swarms with Kite Party participants for 11th annual event.

March 13, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Charles Gillespi, right, works on putting together a kite called the Crimson Robe with the designer of the kite, Robert Brasington, during Kite Party 11 on Saturday on the north side of Huntington Beach Pier.
Charles Gillespi, right, works on putting together a… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Nearly 100 people gathered at the north side of the Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday morning for one purpose — to fly kites.

Some traveled as far as San Diego, Washington, Pennsylvania and Canada. A few even flew out from Germany and Tasmania.

These kite fliers congregate to Huntington Beach for their yearly Kite Party, now in its 11th year.

There's no flying competition or any judging of kites. These participants had only one thing in mind: a weekend of flying their kites in the beach air and having fun.

"It's kind of addictive," said John Mason, 65, of San Diego. "Once you fly with somebody else, it's even more addictive because it becomes a lot more interesting and you get to do creative maneuvers. It makes you feel like a kid again."

During the event, sponsored by Kite Connection, beachgoers stopped in their tracks as a dozen or so kites soared in the air while a group of fliers performed a choreographed routine to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

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The days leading up to the weekend almost spelled doom for the event, with rainclouds hovering over Huntington Beach, but for the past 11 years, Kite Connection owner Dave Shenkman has never been concerned about the weather.

"You ask anybody here. We're never worried about the weather because Huntington Beach has its own weather system and it's void of Kite Party karma," he said. "The weather is never a concern."

The rain falling Thursday and Friday had Benn Huggett, 43, of Philadelphia, concerned. .

"I was looking at the weather [report for Huntington Beach] last week and it was in the 70s, and I was thinking it was going to be fantastic," he said. "Then I got up on Monday to pack and I looked at the weather again and it was in the 60s. But it's snowing in Philadelphia, so it's better here."

It took Robert Brasington 24 hours to travel from Tasmania, Australia, to Surf City for his first kite party.

"I'm used to that," he said. "To get to Europe takes me 36 hours for me and to get to New York is another 10 hours to that. So coming to L.A., to me, is relatively a quick trip."

Brasington has been flying and designing kites for the past 20 years and hasn't lost interest in the whimsical item.

"For me, it's the passion of design, but if you ask a cross-section of kiters, they would say it's incredibly relaxing and very social," he said. "Particularly on a good beach where everyone parks their stuff upstairs and everyone just sits down and talks."

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