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In 2002, avid Clear Lake kiters, Larry and Kay Day, started the Color the Wind Festival. Held on the third Saturday in February each year, this colorful festival of kites has been a tradition for the last twenty years, bringing in people from all over the country, and even from other countries.
I attended the Festival for the first time this year after my friend Libby brought it up in January. I asked my Dad if he'd like to go, so Libby, my dad, Libby's son Eddie, my daughter Eva, my stepmom, and I all made the journey to visit this family-friendly event. Clear Lake is also infamous for the Day the Music Died and we visited the sites from that tragic event as well, which I posted about last weekend.
With ample parking and shuttles to and from the lake, it's easy to get there in this small Iowa town. While it was nearly 60 degrees F in the surrounding areas, Clear Lake was cold and the lake was frozen solid. We brought our winter gear and changed after we parked. We saw plenty of people wearing nothing but jeans, slip-on shoes, and hoodies. Yikes! We didn't imagine that they probably stayed long.
If you haven't already guessed, the Color the Wind Festival is a festival of kites. Not just any kites though...we're talking giant, colorful, and festive kites that are held by wire and bolted into the ice. The kites literally color the windy skies, hence the name.
There were so many kites of different shapes. While some were geometrically shaped, most of them were familiar to the eye, like this octopus in the foreground, that pig in the back, and lots of other animals.
This Chinese dragon kite was my favorite while the friendlier dragon in front of it was a favorite of Eddie's.
My dad never goes anywhere without his camera and he was warm and ready for some photography!
Eva and Eddie had fun just playing on the ice, honestly, and Libby and I enjoyed watching them have a good time.
Seeing all the kites was a bit magical.
A stingray and a giant squid against the blue sky made it seem like they were swimming side-by-side in the ocean.
This shot shows exactly how the kites are held in place.
Of course, I had to get a close-up of my favorite kite!
While it was really cool to check out all the kites, there's not a lot to do other than just take it all in. However, the legendary Surf Ballroom is open and offers free admission on the day of the Color the Wind Festival, so I recommend stopping in there to round out your visit. Of course, you can also drive a few miles north of town to check out the crash site that put this town on the map, which I highly suggest if you're a history buff like myself.
All in all, it was a fun day trip to take. Anytime you can get out of your surroundings and explore something or somewhere new is a good day. Whether you travel near or far, nothing enhances life more than discovery.
Have a great weekend, friends!