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Color the Wind kite festival returns to Clear Lake for 19th year
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Color the Wind kite festival returns to Clear Lake for 19th year

From the ICYMI: Stories from the weekend series
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Kites fly over Clear Lake Saturday during the Color the Wind Kite Festival at Clear Lake.

Dozens of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes will fill the sky over Clear Lake on Saturday.

That’s thanks to the annual Color the Wind kite festival.

“There will be a lot of big kites,” said Larry Day, who organizes the festival with his wife, Kay. “It’ll be a nice display.”

The kite festival — in its 19th year — will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Clear Lake near the Sea Wall.

The Days started the Color the Wind kite festival in 2001 to share their passion of flying kites with others in the community they’ve called home for decades.

Since then, the kite festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators and kite flyers from across the country.

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Last year’s event was the largest with an estimated 10,000 people, Day said, crediting blue skies, sunshine and the kite festival’s footage on CBS Sunday Morning in 2018.

“We probably had more people on the ice than ever before,” he said. “It was fun to see the families enjoying themselves.”

The Color the Wind kite festival has been featured in several publications in the past, including Disney’s Family Fun Magazine, AAA Living, Senior Lifestyle Advantage, Our Iowa, Iowa Outdoors and others.

The festival was also the subject of a feature program done by Iowa Public Television.

This year’s event is expected to draw kite flyers from eight states, including Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois.

“They enjoy the event, and I take care good care of them when they do come here,” Day said.

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Kites fly over Clear Lake Saturday during the Color the Wind Kite Festival at Clear Lake.

There will be a public reception to welcome the kite pilots from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Clear Lake Arts Center, 17 S. Fourth St. There will be hors d‘oeuvres and beverages.

On Saturday, it’s all about kites — ones shaped like astronauts, dragons, teddy bears and everything in between.

“We don’t do other activities that are going to conflict with the event,” Day said. “We want this solely to be about kites.”

Returning this year are two stunt kite teams 180 GO! and Fire ‘n Ice that will perform dance routines choreographed to music with four-line and two-line kites, respectively, throughout the festival.

Kites will be available for purchase at the Route 66 Kite Shop in the Lakeview Room, 10 N. Lakeview Drive, across the street from the flying field.

There will also be food available from the Smokee Heights food truck and inside the Lakeview Room.

For those unable, or not interested, in viewing the kites on Clear Lake, they can see them from shore along North Lakeview Drive.

“It’s a fun event, a family event,” Day said.

In the festival’s nearly 20-year history, the Days have canceled it twice due to deteriorating ice conditions, once in 2013 and the other in 2017.

Day said they will check the ice this weekend, but he’s optimistic it’ll move forward as planned.

Parking is biggest issue. It’s all about the smiles, wherever go, people smiling and having a good time .it’s a free event. It’s been fun, and a great ride.

Due to the large estimated attendance, limited parking will be available downtown on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce will provide a free shuttle from the Clear Lake High School, 125 N. 20th St., to the Sea Wall throughout the event.

The event is free and open to the public, but there will be donation buckets located throughout the event to help offset some of the expenses.

Day said he wouldn’t be able to organize the Color the Wind kite festival without the help of Kay and the community year after year.

“We make nothing,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to give back to this wonderful community, and it’s been good to us.”

For more information about the Color the Wind kite festival, visit

Photos: Color the Wind kite festival over the year

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.


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