The Grays Harbor Festival of Colors returns this weekend with a new team of organizers who’ve put together some fresh elements.
The North Coast’s annual kite-flying extravaganza will take place Friday through Sunday along a couple of miles of beach just off the Damon Road approach, north of the Ocean Shores city limits.
This year’s festival was going to be canceled by its longtime producer, Ocean Shores Kites; but a trio of enthusiasts “picked up the ball and ran with it,” according to Rick Beveridge, OS resident and lifelong kite lover.
Beveridge, part-time OS resident Brent Williams, and master kite builder Brian David of Gig Harbor pooled their time and talent to keep the festival alive. They recruited over 30 sponsors to help pay the bills and provide prizes and auction items.
They also added some new content, including the area’s first lighted kite night fly, planned at dusk Friday on the beach in front of the Best Western Hotel. Strings of lightweight, battery-powered LEDs, glow sticks, different styles and sizes of kites, and wild imaginations will combine to create an array of uniquely illuminated “identified flying objects.” Beveridge said no flame devices, such as the locally prohibited “sky lanterns,” will be allowed.
Display kites, some well over 100 feet tall, will decorate the beach all weekend, and their flyers will compete for the inaugural People’s Choice Award.
All day Saturday and Sunday, flyers with two-line and quad-line steerable sport kites will be demonstrating their art and competing in an American Kiteflyers Association-sanctioned event, administered by the affiliated Northwest Sport Kite League. There are individual and team competitions. Four flyers from the One India Kite Team are planning to travel 7,000 miles from the subcontinent to the Shores. Several Canadian teams are also expected for the competition.
At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday will be another new element: “Mass Ascensions,” where participants fly the same style of kites at the same time.
Two free kids events also will take place on Saturday. At noon is the “Running of the Bols,” a foot race where the kids drag “a big round kite that looks like a doughnut” behind them. Beveridge said bol kites “tend to bounce along on the sand, maybe get 12-15 feet up in the air,” and they range from 18 inches to 30 feet in diameter. For these races, 6- to 8-foot bol kites will be attached to participants using harnesses. The kids will compete within age groups, and the winners will receive custom-made delta kites.
The first 200 kids who arrive between 12:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday are invited to make and keep a free sled-style kite.
A festival tent will be set up in front of North Beach High School for information, schedules, festival T-shirts and collectible enamel pins. It will be open Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More information is available on the Grays Harbor Festival of Colors Facebook page, and at www.graysharborfestivalofcolors.com.