Soaring to new heights
By Kana Coonce
ALGOMA – This year, with more activities on its roster than ever and a projected attendance of over 4,000 people, Soar on the Shore aims to fly to even greater heights.
“Cathy Pabich will tell people it was everyone else’s idea, but it was definitely her idea,” said Sara Krouse, event coordinator for Friends of Crescent Beach, one of the organizations behind Soar on the Shore. A coordinator for Friends, Pabich concocted the idea in 2015 as a way of “helping people understand the beauty and value of the beach through the conduit of having fun… [and] being together enjoying nature,” Krouse said.
“It was a joint effort between the Friends and the Algoma Area of Commerce,” Krouse explained. The two groups teamed up with the Wisconsin Kiters Club, an organization of kite aficionados that helps to put on kite festivals across the Midwest to promote kiting; and Unique Flying Objects, a kite and flag store located in Two Rivers that closed its storefront last year but whose owner still assists with festivities.
For their ninth event, Friends will bring in attendee-favorite activities like balloon twisting and face-painting, stunt kite flying and a kite candy drop.
“Kids absolutely love it,” Krouse said of the candy drop, which involves bags of candy being loaded onto kites and released onto the beach below for children to grab.
This year, Krouse estimates the candy drop will take place at 1 p.m., but said that attendees should keep an eye on Soar’s Facebook page on the day of the event in case of last-minute scheduling adjustments.
New to the festival this year will be representatives from Peninsula Reptile House, a new reptile store in Algoma, who will bring reptiles for attendees to handle or observe.
Friends will also have signs around the event designed to promote knowledge of the beach and water to attendees. In addition, the group will host a beach scavenger hunt “designed to show kids aspects of the beach,” including monarch butterflies, milkweed, bugs one might find around the beach, and the importance of picking up litter.
Other activities available to attendees include a historical cannon brought in and fired by former Door County Maritime Museum Director Bob Desh, who will arrive in period costume and be available to discuss area history throughout the day; plein air easels for young artists who wish to paint on the beach; a boat belonging to a Department of Natural Resources warden on display; and a variety of kite-themed crafts that will be available to make for free as long as supplies last.
Of course, Krouse emphasized, “the biggest attraction is the kites,” which passionate kiters bring from across the Midwest to fly at the festival. Kites seen at previous years’ Soars include “octopuses with their tentacles moving over you,” cartoon characters like Minions and kites made by hand.
“It’s relaxing to watch kites in the air,” mused Krouse, “how they move, their colors, so we have a lot of people who come and simply watch.”
“The kites are the showcase piece. It’s incredible seeing them up in the air. You can see them from half a mile away.”
Krouse also emphasized that the kites make for great photos.
“People get some awesome shots of the kites. We also see drone photographers,” she said.
Best of all, Soar is completely free — save for any food attendees buy at the event from a number of food trucks: Captain Tom’s BBQ, who will have pulled pork sandwiches and homemade mac & cheese; Algoma Boy Scouts, who will be selling nachos (loaded and unloaded) and popcorn; Grandview Terrace, who will have hamburgers and hotdogs available; Destination Imagination, with a corn boil — “Which is pretty darn good, if you ask me,” interjected Krouse — and Sweet Escapes, an ice cream truck.
Of these, the Boy Scouts, Grandview Terrace and Destination Imagination will be fundraising for their own organizations and causes.
Attendees who wish to keep Soar free in subsequent years or support the organization’s other endeavors may also make donations to Friends of Crescent Beach at their booth.
“It’s a fun day,” said Krouse. “I just love seeing people enjoy being in Algoma, seeing people enjoy our beach, seeing people appreciate the talents and efforts of these kiters, having our nonprofits and businesses come together to create this festival… It’s very fun, very welcoming and showcases one of the most beautiful places in our town, which is the beach.
“It’s a very welcoming, wholesome event, and it’s great on the day of to see people enjoying themselves and how many people come up to us and express how much they appreciate having something free for the family to do, from kids to grandparents… I’m proud of it.”
Soar on the Shore is a joint-collaboration between Friends of Crescent Beach, the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, Unique Flying Objects of Two Rivers and the Wisconsin Kiters Club.
Soar on the Shore is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at Algoma’s Crescent Beach, with a cannon firing and maritime history chat at 11:30 a.m. and a kite candy drop for kids currently scheduled for 1 p.m.
In the event of rain, the event will be pushed to the following day, Sunday, Aug. 20.