The Glorious Sky of Jesolo, Italy

We’ve had a kite club for what, almost 6 years now? We’ve seen a kite festival or two, even organised one, we follow kite flyers and kite festival organisers from all over the world – but this was … beyond anything we could imagine.

A master kite designer, builder and flyer, Mr. Filippo Gallina, outdid pretty much every other festival with 250 kiters coming from all over the world (a Thai kite team were guests of honour, there were Italian, French, Dutch, Maltese, Ukrainian, German, British, Belgian, Dubaian, Austrian and other kite masters … and us), creating a fantastic festival on a mile and a half of the immense sandy beach of Lido di Jesolo.

But let us start at the beginning. In the beginning there was a weather forecast, and taxes. The forecast was terrible, as it almost always is when a kite festival is on. A typical if-then algorithm of a moody early spring: if wind then rain, else no wind; repeat until end of festival.

We gathered at our favourite pub at 9 AM for a coffee, when a casual remark got us frantically putting together and sending a tax report of our club (it was due that day, of course) that we forgot to file. It’s just under three hours drive from Ljubljana to Jesolo, so we weren’t bothered much – maybe during the trip the forecast would get proven wrong. As the old saying goes, you are lying like a weatherman

The afternoon of the first day of the festival was cloudy, but windy, and the rain luckily missed the appointment. The kites went up. It was … nice.

But while flying is fun even when the light is not at its best, and we had a great flyday on the beach of Jesolo, the photos just can’t deliver all the incredible, fascinating colours and shapes of all the kites in the air when it’s cloudy.

After a great (and long) evening with friends from all over the world – catching up on kite experiences, discussing design questions, sharing sewing problems, relating short and tall stories about flying while destroying copious amounts of Italian wine, frizzante, various spirits, and beer – Saturday came and promptly threw away the last vestiges of respectability of weather forecasts.

It was sunny and windy. The beach was calling for the kites. And the kites came.

A wagon full of kites

The Saturday morning was spectacular. Spring at its best: not a cloud in the bluest sky, a sharp, warm sunlight of the early April sun …

The wind was moody at first, swinging erratically while we waited for the sun to warm up the beach and create the famous anabatic wind of the Adriatic, the maestrale, that would pick up the big stuff. Wind gardens sprung all around, banners and rotors started to flutter, some Rokkakus probing the air, a train of kites searching for the steady wind higher up …

The sun did its job, the wind turned and beefed up …

More and more flying sculptures were going to where they belong: high above the ground.

Then the big things took to the air …

… and it was spectacular …

… and then crazy …

… and then completely insane.

This last photo was not supposed to be published yet – it’s a kite aerial photo and it is meant to be in the next article, the one about KAP in Jesolo. But it shows so clearly how huge the festival was, spread over a mile and a half of the beach of Lido di Jesolo, smartly divided into areas for gigantic 3D kites (seen here), for acrobatic kites, for single liners, wind gardens, and all the rest. Neat, easy to navigate, simple to control – a testimony to a great planning and meticulous organisation. Chapeau, Filippo!

The glorious skies of Jesolo were crowded – and the crowds gathered on the ground too … a whopping 100.000 visitors got their necks sore from staring upwards into the sky full of wonders for the three days of the festival. An amazing accomplishment, and a proof that kites and kite festivals can be fantastic crowd-pullers. Communities, sponsors, funders, organisers – take note!

In such a crowded sky, full of aerial traffic, kites tacking into the wind at different angles, tangles were inevitable (and a great source of laughter and fun). Untangling of lines is a very zen activity, suitable for long winter evenings – or an excuse for a short break from the arduous kite flying …

Most of our kites are handmade, created and sewn by our distinguished member, long-time president, master kite designer and maker Janez Vizjak of Dr.Agon institute. Though the largest one, the giant Proteus anguinus (olm, “human fish”) is 23 meters long, it is no match for those enormous octopuses, blue whales (made to scale, 1:1 ), and mantas. But together with our other kites (we managed to put 21 of them in the air!) and with friends from Belgium, Austria, Italy, and Malta we did a great aerial show on our part of the beach, reserved for single-line kites.

The Human fish did enchant the crowds – after all, how many times one sees a giant flying … something … 😉

The perfect kite flying day ended gloriously – the wind was so cooperative (we don’t know what deal Filippo made with the gods, but it must’ve been expensive) that a night flying session was on! Unfortunately our cameras are too old to be able to capture that spettacolo aereo notturno

Sunday came and it was not as glorious as the immaculate Saturday; the clouds were covering the sky, the wind was moody and lazy. But we were still in awe of the unbelievable show of the previous day. One basically needs a couple of hours of perfect wind conditions for the festival to be a total success – and the wind on Saturday wend above and beyond the call of duty … by miles.

So the third day was more about taking it easy, showing kites, bragging about sewing techniques, discussing this and that with friends coming by, watching old kite masters performing …

In honour of the ski flying competition at Planica

We even managed to get the giant Caly the dog in the air!

But the clock was ticking …

… and with a heavy heart we had to put the kites down and head back home.

The rainbow we met on the road back reminded us how lucky we were to be a part of the most incredible Jesolo Beach & Kite Festival 2023!

Big thanks to Suzanna and Sandro, Ina and Herman, Karin and Roger, Daniella and Gerhard, Roberto, Betty and Thomas, Denis, Farhan, Arjan, Bear, Edy, Giancarlo, Liana, Angelo, Edo, Peckie, Franca, Erio, Christian, Arnaldo, Rolf and everyone else for those three days full of wind, sun, fun and joy.

And, of course – thank you, Filippo. It was a pleasure and an honour to fly kites with you on your incredible, unbelievable kite festival.

6 thoughts on “The Glorious Sky of Jesolo, Italy”

  1. a TOP report as always ! great stuff KAP JaSa ! it was pleasure to see you after relatively short time from Spotorno

    the size of Jesolo strand was so big that for searching friends at least 6 km of walk were necessary (and I was not able to find some people there…)


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