Go fly a kite in Morro Bay this weekend

Morro Bay kite festival.
Morro Bay kite festival. Tribune photo by Jayson Mellom

Shaun Farmer of Morro Bay will never forget the joy he witnessed during the city’s first kite festival in 2006.

“I watched a young girl give up her kite to her grandfather when she needed a break. Whether you are 9 or 90, flying a kite brings smiles inside and out.”

Farmer assumed the directorship of the two-day 2013 Morro Bay Kite Festival this weekend, April 27-28, beginning at 11 a.m. at the beach by Morro Rock. He is also the brains behind the event.

“In 2003, Jim Straley invited me to be a vendor at the Paso Robles Kite Festival. I was hooked and knew Morro Bay needed one,” he said. “It was 2006 before our first two-day event. It was a huge success with lots of good weather, smiling faces, vendors and picture-perfect kites flying next to Morro Rock. It’s free to the public, but needs two days to attract the bigger kite handlers.”

When the Chamber and the Visitor Bureau split responsibilities , the kite festival was almost a casualty, Farmer said.

“Some wonderful citizens and organizations deserve credit for saving it. Providing funding is Morro Bay Furniture’s Barry Ross, the Tourism Bureau, Chamber and Carol Berry’s friends at the Central Coast Funds for Children. This group traditionally helped the children decorate their free kites. This year, they will also fund free kites. Local hoteliers have offered rooms, and Morro Bay Dunes offered space for the handlers to come. Jim Bray, Laurie Haworth, Sherry and David Woods, Karin Moss, Tiffany Porter and Craig Schmidt have been invaluable.”

Farmer answers questions at 772-0113, his kite shop at 1108 Front St.

“This year, we begin the Jim Straley Memorial Kite Candy Drop. Straley’s son donated a kite like the one Jim brought us every year. We will remember him with a candy drop in his name.”

Favorite kite handlers will be back. Penny Lingenfelter always charms the children with her Tinker Bell and themed quads plus gives kids free lessons. Team Air-Zone does synchronized darting, war games and chasing. Ron Despojado’s team flies for Revolution Kites. Brian Champie has the 56-foot gecko, bear, and other ground kite displays. Mark and Jeanette Lummas fly quads together.

“We will have lots of food vendors and a free drawing for Giants baseball box seats and more,” said Farmer, who grew up in Morro Bay.

After a career with a Paso Robles automobile dealer, he realized his dream in 1998. He bought the kite shop he worked in after high school.

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.