Parksville’s skies will be speckled with colour next weekend, as Kitefest returns to the
Parksville Community Park July 21 and 22.
Ray Bethall, dubbed The World’s Kite Champion will be returning to put on a show, and Parksville Lions Club member and organizer Clarence Esslinger said it’s plain to see how he got the name.
“He can fly seven kites at a time, that’s why he’s the champ,” he said.
Esslinger explained that Bethall is in his 70s and deaf and known around the world for his kite flying abilities. He can tell by the wind when to do different stunts, he said, and wanted to return to Parksville this year to put on a good show, as last year the winds weren’t ideal.
Other features include the Island Quad Team from Victoria, who fly kites in unison to music, and Monster Kite flyer John Vriend.
For the kids there’s always plenty to do, and the Teddy bear drop is always a big hit. This is where kids 10 and under put their name into a draw for the chance to chase down a parachuting Teddy bear. Shaw supplies the 40 bears that are hoisted up 90 feet by the Parksville Fire Department.
“It’s quite an attraction having these little kids run after these Teddy bears and try and catch them before they land on the ground,” Esslinger said.
Kids can participating in kite making as well, and put their own creative stamp on their work.
There will be plenty of craft and food vendors again this year as well as ground displays. The event is presented by the Parksville Lion’s Club and the British Columbia Kitefliers Association (BCKA). Esslinger said there will be kite fliers coming from Washington State, Oregon, Alberta, the Mainland and Vancouver Island to fly on our popular field.
“We have one of the best kite flying fields on the Island,” he said. “There’s a nice grass field, prevailing winds off the ocean and no trees to interfere.”
The event takes place Sat., July 21 and Sun, July 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, with the Teddy bear drop happening at noon both days.