Algoma kite festival caps run of three big events in three weeks on Crescent Beach
ALGOMA – It's not just kites soaring, floating and diving over Crescent Beach but also the capstone of two-plus weeks of activities there.
After the mustering of tall ships offshore for the Great Lakes Challenge sailing race July 30 and this weekend's Shanty Days community festival, the city's waterfront will host the fifth annual Soar on the Shore kite festival Saturday, Aug. 17.
Having three big events in less than three weeks on the beach, especially events that attract tourists as well as residents, is a big deal to the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, which co-sponsors Soar on the Shore.
"It's so delightful to have the opportunity to showcase the community in three really big ways," said Sara Krouse, the chamber's executive director. "Each of those events draws a different audience to our city."
It's also a big deal to Friends of Crescent Beach, a community support organization formed in 2015 to rehabilitate and maintain the beach and draw people to it. Soar on the Shore was the first major event presented by the Friends, which continues to organize it.
"When we first started, one of our goals was to make the Algoma beach a destination beach not just for residents but for visitors as well," said Cathy Pabich, co-founder of the Friends. "I think (these three weeks are) a highlight, showing people the beauty of the beach."
Soar on the Shore has drawn about 1,000 people or more the past few years, and wind and weather permitting, Krouse expects a similar or greater turnout this year.
"We've got a fully stacked, wonderful day," Krouse said. "As long as the weather cooperates, we expect to see a lot of people on our shore."
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As at other kite festivals, the highlight of Soar on the Shore likely is stunt flying exhibitions by kiting professionals and experts, often synchronized to music like an aerial dance routine.
Kites of all shapes and sizes, with designs from artistic to cartoon characters, will be aloft throughout the event as experts give demonstrations, and visitors can test-fly a kite or bring their own. Members of the Wisconsin Kiters Club and Unique Flying Objects of Two Rivers will be on-site.
Children can make their own kite or windsock and chase down candy dropped from a kite. Among attractions for children that aren't kite-related are face painting, balloon animals, and toys and games on the beach, along with two new things to try: a scavenger hunt on the beach, with one successful hunter winning a kite; and activities at a station from Explore Algoma, a new kayak and paddleboard rental business.
Visitors of all ages can paint a beach rock, make a beach mosaic or try their hand at plein air painting; easels will be set up, and members of the Water's Edge Artists nature painting group will be on hand.
Also new this year are Crescent Beach T-shirts, printed by Mrs. Wigglebottoms Print Factory in Casco, for sale to celebrate the fifth go-around of the festival. Krouse noted that the shirts are having a second print run because of anticipated sales.
Soar on the Shore has added an activity or two each year since its start, but Krouse said the activities from that first year have been enhanced. And, of course, the kites are the stars.
"We're really just going strong with the activities we had in the past, just adding more oomph to them," Krouse said.
Besides drawing people to experience the beach, Pabich said a major benefit for the festival is that it's backed by numerous sponsors and volunteers.
"A highlight for me is that it's an all-volunteer effort generously supported by sponsors," she said. "It's important for us to continue to offer this as a free event for families."
The Soar on the Shore kite festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 on Crescent Beach in Algoma. In case of rain, the festival will be Aug. 18. For more information, call 920-487-2041 or go to visitalgomawi.com/soar.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Algoma kite festival caps run of three big events in three weeks on Crescent Beach