Susan (Amey) Dunn - --- Posted 2002
Two years ago, I would never have believed I would be involved in kiting. Through a relationship with Ron Dunn, the LVKS V.P. of Publishing, my first experience with kiting was the 2000 MKS Kitebuilding Retreat. I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the other attendees while working on their projects. I was also pleasantly surprised to find men so adept at sewing and artistic creativity. Being able to conceive a concept and carry it through to a completed flyable kite "blew me away".
I found the kiting community to be friendly and outgoing and decided I'd like to become more involved. Regular attendance at LVKS meetings and events has lead to my position as Secretary of LVKS for 2001.
I have found that watching people fly kites, and flying kites myself is an exhilarating experience and great stress reducer. I look forward to being able to create my own kite projects in the near future, and to launch them skyward.
Ron Dunn - --- Posted 2000
As an LVKS member since I can't remember, I have been involved in kiting as a builder, flyer, and officer of the club. I became VP of Public Relations and then became the publisher of our newsletter, "Tangled Lines". I have been interested in kiting since a vacation at Ocean City, MD in the early 90's. After seeing kites on the beach during Sunfest, I became enamored with the color and spectacle of the whole experience. Sitting on the seawall for the entire weekend, I made contact with several kiters who got me involved with LVKS and kitebuilding, and as they say, the rest is history.
The time between my joining the club and now have been filled with many adventures and a miriad of kites built for kite building competitions. The newsletter and kids kitebuilding keeps me involved in the club. I've started my own business, which has been a whole new experience for me, and juggling business and pleasure can be confusing, so I maintain contact with many LVKS members through email and personal contact when I can attend a club activity.
My personal favorite kites are single liners, though I have strayed occasionally into multi-line, and enjoy the chaos of kite building seminars. My chili has gotten rave revues and on many occasions I have been required to supply mass quantities. Publishing "Tangled Lines" has been a joy in my life. I've helped it mutate into the full color, highly successful, informative newsletter it has grown to be. Join LVKS and enjoy "Tangled Lines" as a benefit of being a member.
Andy Gelinas - --- Posted 2005
As a child I would get one kite per season---a stick and paper diamond kite from Koster's Five & Dime store in East Stroudsburg, PA . The sail would tear, and as I still wanted to fly, I would re-cover with Christmas wrap. (Not kite building but rebuilding). All the neighborhood kids flew in Jay Peters cow pasture, now a church, behind my house.
Passing the gavel/wand of the “Presidency” to others did not take place for 4 years. I have stayed active helping in all facets of LVKS club including, club projects, kids kite building, Vice President, Secretary, and have been honored as “President Emeritus”. I was also American Kiteflier Association’s--- Regional Director for Region II – PA, NJ and downstate NY. for a couple of years.
Another really fun thing---I also have about a dozen Parafauna (parachuting teddy bears, et al.) mostly homemade with parachutes made in our shop – also on our website. Really great to see them freefall then pop open and glide down---well, most of the time without injury, but once in a while like a “loaf of bread”. Hard to tell kids there was a “wardrobe” malfunction. In another light---for 3 years I followed (drove) my daughters (part of the Valli Girlz sport kite team) on the Eastern League Circuit to Wildwood, MASKC, Rhode Island and Richmond Va. In the early days---I was also a sport kite judge for the Eastern League. When I switched from dual line to single line, I started building and competing in kite building. 1993, 1994 and 1995 at AKA, I took a 3rd place and later a 2nd and even later 2003 a 1st place at Ocean City, MD. I constructed the only all wood (walnut) kite ever entered for competition. It didn’t fly—no wind and I really got tired of running back and forth (yes---360’s) on the comp field. This among other factors has obtained for me invites to many festivals across the country as well as to Germany and Fano, Denmark - in 2002; England – Bedford & Sunderland – in 2003 and Cervia, Italy - in 2004. These trips were real eye openers as to how much more advanced the Europeans are than I, in my thinking and kite building expertise. I also collect kite pins from across the states as well as from Europe. Selling and trading takes place as opportunities present themselves.
Over the last 12 years I have worked for and with Roger Chewning of Sky Festival Productions helping at his enterprises at New York’s Central Park, Philadelphia, Wildwood, NJ; Ocean City, MD and others in the capacity of single line coordinator, festival chairman, sales, auction chairman and others.
Paul Keeler and I opened a midsize kite store in the fall of 1991 as a hobby gone awry --- we never made any money but had a good time. Paul sold out his share to Joyce Quinn four years ago and although the store has recently closed we still do business on the web at "http://www.kitesonconsignment.com/" . We sell used and new kites and kite related goods. This pretty much brings me to the present. I hope to keep competing in kite building, traveling, our website and helping LVKS to remain a leader in Kite Clubs across the country. This year – 2005 – I have come full circle and am again President of LVKS.
Julie Gelinas - --- Posted 2001
Hi. My name is Julie Gelinas and I’ve been a member of Lehigh Valley Kite Society as long as I can remember. Currently (2001), I am a freshman at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Last year was my final year competing on the Valli Girlz stunt flying team. It was my third year competing and I already miss traveling to the festivals. We regularly flew at Liberty Kite Fest, Maryland Stunt Kite Championships, Wildwood International Kite Festival, Richmond Stunt Kite Championships and Newport Kite Festival. At the completion of our third year, my then teammates (my sister Karianne competed with us my first year): Kristina Keeler and Emily Kimble received first place in both Experienced Team Ballet and Experienced Team Precision for the entire season. Those three years included some of the best times of my life so far, as I met great kitefliers and experienced the new things through traveling. I hope I will be able to get back in the competition circuit when I finish college, but for now you can still find me in Wildwood for the Memorial Day weekend festival. As for the future, I plan to act on the silver screen one day yet I am currently debating my major at Drew. Thanks to everyone who supported the team and I through it all, especially LVKS!
Paul Keeler - --- Posted 1998 --- Updated 2004
My interest in kiting was sparked in 1990 when I was on vacation in Ocean City, MD with my wife Tina and friend Andy and his wife. We happened to be there in September when the City holds an event called Sunfest. We saw a lot of kites in front of the Kite Loft and I got hooked on dual-line or sport kite flying. I went into the Kite Loft and bought my first stunt kite, a 4' Peter Powell Diamond Kite. Tina and I have gone to Sunfest every year since then. It is our vacation away from the house and kids. We have 2 kids, Kristina and Scott. After a while of flying the Peter Powell, I needed more and acquired a Firedart made by Action Industries. At this time (2001), my favorite dual-line kite is still a Tracer, originally made by Mike Simmons.
In 1991, Tina showed me an article in our local newspaper that a local park was looking for someone to help out with a Kite Day in the Park. I showed the article to Andy and he wound up chairing the thing. With the help of myself, my wife and a few friends, we helped to successfully organize and run what became the first of an annual event. From that first event, Andy, myself and nine others formed Lehigh Valley Kite Society. We held our first meeting in October of 1991. We now hold monthly business meetings, have a quarterly newsletter (Tangled Lines) and have around 80 members.
In 1992, I began to compete at several Eastern League Sport Kite Championships in Northeastern USA. I began by flying in the Novice Precision category my first year. I did rather well (taking some 1st, 2nd and 3rd plaques) and moved up to Intermediate the next season. I stayed in the Intermediate category for 2 seasons. The first season I competed in both Precision and Ballet but eventually dropped the Ballet since I wasn't that good and I looked funny in my tutu (ha ha). In 1995, I moved up to Experienced again flying only Precision. After placing 4th for the season, I decided to take a year off. However, at the same time, my daughter Kristina got together with Andy's two daughters, Karianne and Julie, and formed a team called "The Valli Girlz." So I ended up tagging along to the kite events in the 1997/1998 season (yes, I became a dad groupie). Since Karianne is off to college, the Valli Girlz have since picked up a new member, Emily, and were ready for this seasons competition 1998/1999. The 1999/2000 season I flew pairs with my daughter Kristina. This was the last season that the Valli Girlz competed, as all three headed off to college.
In the end of 1993 Andy and I opened a kite store called Burlesque Kites. It is a small, part-time store with assorted single, dual and quad line kites along with various accessories. In August of 1999, I sold my half of the store to Joyce. I still help out once in awhile and the store is doing good. They are open now more than before, making it a full-time store.
I also enjoy building kites. I have entered some of my kites in a few kite building competitions. For the Smithsonian Kite Festival in Washington, DC, I entered a Cobra Kite in 1994 and a Mario Brothers Box Kite in 1995. In 1997 at the American Kite Association Grand Nationals held in Wildwood, NJ, myself along with other club members entered a Mega Carpet Kite.
I have many kites and kite related items, some of which I have purchased and some of which I have made. Check out the photos page to see several things I made or helped to make.
Currently I enjoy flying all types of kites - single, dual and quad line. I also enter all the rokkaku battles I can, both individually and as a team. My favorite kite festival is Sunfest, I love to go and have a long relaxing weekend of kiting and visiting all the friends I have made over the years.
Rick Latimore - --- Posted 2005
Thinking back to when I fell in love with flying kites. I think I was about ten years old when it happened. I don't really remember, I've just always seemed to loved them. Out of all of Gods creation I love the sky the most. Every day the sky creates the most beautiful back drop for things that fly. I know it may sound silly but, flying a kite feels like being extended into that ever changing beauty.
The first kite that I can remember flying was this paper diamond kite. I received it from a neighborhood store that was having a grand opening. I can remember my friends and I running up and down the street trying to get them to fly. I was hooked.
Later, I graduated to the Gayola Super bat kite. I know that some of you can relate to that one. Those were very popular kites. Those black bat shaped kites with the yellow and red blood shot eyes really flew well. I can remember spending hours standing alone in the park gazing up longingly at it as it swayed in the beautiful summer sky. I secretly wished that it was me soaring up there.
At the age of about twenty four I saw my first dual line stunt kite. I was blown away. This guy was not just flying this kite, he was piloting it. He was actually steering it , directing it to do loops and skimming the horizon with it. I guess that the fascination I was feeling was written on my face. I was shocked when the gentlemen flying the kite asked me if I wanted to try. I did and by the end of the week, I owned my first stunt kite (a fire dart).
To make an already long story a little shorter, I continued to fly kites over the years. While shopping at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall, PA, I came across this wonderful kite display, it was a kite club called the Lehigh Valley Kite Society. I was impressed and took a brochure but it wasn’t until I wandered into what was the Burlesque Kite store to buy a new stunt kite that I met Andy. Andy is one of the club’s founder. He sold me a great kite and told me more about the club, and I joined.
Since then I’ve had the honor of meeting so many other kite flyers, who have become great friends of mine. I’ve learned about different kinds of kites and how to fly them. Last year I even experienced an indoor stunt kite competition. That’s right INDOOR kite flying!!! I love being a member of LVKS. There is nothing better than being on a field with good friends sharing tips, stories and air space. I love it.
If you’re ever in the Lehigh Valley on a Sunday afternoon (after church of course), look for the Guy with the biggest smile on his face flying a kite and it will be me…. Oooor ask that guy which guy is the one they call Rickxer or batman. And that will be me. Hope to see you there.
Tony Reiser - --- Posted 1998 --- Updated 2001
Sunfest, 1990 was the beginning for me! My wife B.J. calls it my downfall, I call it my UPLIFT. We haven't missed a Sunfest since 1990.
I bought an NBK Stunt Kite along with Dave Gomberg's stunt kite book at the Kite Loft and away we went. My son Jim introduced me to kites and we were hooked.
The Lehigh Valley Kite Society was started in 1991 and I am a very active charter member. I learned to sew in 1991 and in 1994 I won first place at the Smithsonian Kite Festival in the Cellular catagory with my purple and white Cross Deck. Since then I have made and entered a kite every year competing up and down the East Coast. At the Smithsonian I won second place in 1995 with my Seven Sisters in Flat & Bowed Category and in 1996 I won first place with my ten foot Geisha Rokkaku.
I am currently the V.P. of Kite Building with LVKS and supervise all kite building sessions for schools, parks, festivals and scout groups. We have built over 1,000 kites each year (1993 to1997). In 1998 we built 1650 kites.
My favorite aspects of kiting are the competition of kite and banner construction and peoples' reaction to my creations. Within the club I enjoy most working with the children and their kite building endeavors. I find that being involved in kiting on the local and national levels of my club and the AKA have enabled me to keep a young attitude towards life and the people around me.
Many of my kites are made and donated for festival raffles and auctions that are fund raisers for clubs and the AKA.
Joyce Quinn - --- Posted 1998
Cliff, my husband for 40 years, got me into kiting. We would go to the shore, many different towns, and always see kites. Then we noticed a kite store at Inner Harbor, MD., at the time they had kites decorating the mall around the area of their store.
We figured there must be something to it. Wouldn’t you know that a customer of Cliff’s at his place of business was a member of a local kite club and told him about it. He started going to meetings in the summer of 1993. We attended Sunfest in Ocean City, MD that Sept. We were fortunate to have relatives near OC. My brother lives in Salisbury, MD. We had been to OC many, many times in the past years.
We walked the boardwalk and when we came to the Kite Loft, there was this silver haired, pony tailed guy selling pins outside the store. Cliff said to me, “There is the president of the club, Lehigh Valley Kite Society, you have to meet him!”, I ran the other way. Cliff joined in Oct. 0f ‘93.
Cliff and I entered a Cross-Deck style of kite in the co-operative kite making competition at the Smithsonian in March, 1994. We were dumbstruck when we won 1st prize in co-operative. That had him hooked.
He finally got me to go to a meeting.......it was just before their annual Kite Day in the Park festival and the president was coming on strong about volunteering and so on. So I volunteered to do “something” for the festival. Let me tell you I worked my fanny off that first festival and have been ever since. I was scared to death of this out-spoken, silver-haired, pony-tailed president. But, I joined the club in April of ‘94.
I got involved in special club projects and the excitement was contagious. I held the office of Secretary for a couple of years, moved on to VP of Operations and kept the club busy (got nicknamed “the whip”) with special club workshop projects, mostly for improving our ground and aerial display for festivals.
Cliff and I built several kites together and I started noticing that the guys at the club all did their own sewing. I approached Cliff with this and now I have to fight to use the machine. He surprised me with how well he can sew.
We have attended several kitemaking retreats and have learned a lot. Love going to the festivals, AKA National Conventions. On a smaller scale, I really love doing kids kitebuilds. I get such a thrill seeing their smiling faces when their kite “flies, it really does!”
My favorite kites to fly are single lines but I have tried dual line sport kites and quad line, can’t imagine how some people master them so well. Takes a lot of practice!
I am now President of the Lehigh Valley Kite Society and trying to do right by them. We have been to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA several years in a row to do kitebuilding and flying. The Franklin Institute has had us to their museum to decorate their atrium for a 4-day Spring Celebration opening their outdoor science playground. Then we were back again in July for a kite build for their Discovery Camp.
Cliff says he created a monster when he introduced me to kiting, but I am having the time of my life, meeting a very special group of people who share the same interests, trying to promote kiting where and whenever we can. And guess what? I am no longer scared of that silver-haired, no longer pony-tailed past president, president emeritus; we are now partners in the Burlesque Kites store and have become fast friends!
Deidra Vachier - --- Posted 2005
My interest in kiting really started with a vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was there that my sister first revealed her kite collection. I was astonished as I watched her launch kite after kite - all without breaking a sweat! To each kite line she attached spinners and other laundry. The kites were majestic against the clear blue sky. That afternoon we celebrated my husband Saul's birthday. For his gift she purchased a dual line kite from PRISM - that was all it took. He was hooked!
At first our new found hobby was limited to our shore vacations. Then one day we saw a flyer for Kite Day in the Park. After a few phone calls I found out that there was a kite club in the valley. Saul and I were intrigued and wanted to know more about this Kite Society. So we ventured out to Louis Moore Park that first Saturday in May and found a field full of folks who loved kiting. Since that day four years ago we have been members of the Lehigh Valley Kite Society. My husband continues to enjoy kiting and is adventurous in his sampling of various kites. I have found my passion in kids kite building. It is wonderful to watch the faces of the children after they design their kite and fly it for the first time, seeing their art work dancing in the sky.
Above all, the best part of membership in LVKS is the wonderful group of people that have become our friends. We see them often in the park, at the beach or at a monthly business meeting. I enjoy each person and the specialty that they bring to the table. Every encounter is an opportunity to learn more about the world of kiting. Sun, wind, ocean, sand, a day in the park, a day at the beach, old friends and new friends - it's a perfect mix!