February in Iowa brings gloomy days and winter blues as it drags on for kids in anticipation of springtime. Clear Lake, Iowa has an event every year that brings smiles to children and adults alike as enthusiasts gather on the frozen lake to fly huge inflatable kites, some costing thousands of dollars. Color the Wind Kite Festival, held February 21st this year, hosts an array of entertainment as curious visitors watching colorful figures shaped like dragons and animals dance in the wind above them while a lively DJ nicknamed, “Mr. Kite” officiates in his Top Hat.
Established in 2001, Color the Wind is now one of the largest kite festivals in the Midwest, where visitors can enjoy music and food vendors or tailgate on their grills braving the chilly temperatures to enjoy a sky full of color for the kids. In addition, the downtown area has an abundance of specialty shops, a wonderful deli, fine eating establishments, coffee shops and a brew pub.
The community host celebrations throughout the year, however, the kite festival has become popular the last few years, drawing 7000 people to the event in the middle of winter. The festival returned me to my childhood as I remembered running through fields on early spring days attempting to launch kites made of sticks, newspaper and knotted bed sheets with illusions of soaring with clouds, although usually unsuccessful.
Nevertheless, standing with my grandchildren gazing into a dark blue heaven filled with colors at the kite festival, I know later there will be many questions because as Walt Streightiff said; “There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” It’s a great family event for a weekend getaway in the weariness of winter and an opportunity to see some incredible inflatables.