Let's go fly a kite: Sky Circus on Ice coming to Delavan

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DELAVAN--Here's something cool: a 150-foot-long, 50-foot-wide kite shaped like an octopus.

Here's something cooler: 500 kites being launched at the same time to the sound of “Let's Go Fly a Kite.”

And here's what's coolest of all: a festival that features kite teams, solo kite-celebrity appearances, ice sculpting and other events designed to help you forget how rotten this winter has been.

Starting Friday, Feb. 14, the Delavan-Delavan Lake Chamber of Commerce, Lake Lawn Resort and Gift of Wings will offer a celebration of kites called Sky Circus on Ice.

The two biggest days will be Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16, with most activities taking place at Lake Lawn Resort.

The idea for Sky Circus on Ice came mostly from Scott Fisher, owner of Gift of Wings, an aviation and kite store in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin. Gift of Wings has been helping put on kite festivals in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois for the past 20 years.

Several years ago, Fisher helped with a Madison festival called Kites on Ice. That event is no longer held, and since then Fisher has wanted to do a similar winter kite festival.

Gift of Wings once brought its giant octopus kites to Lake Lawn in warmer weather. Shortly after the kites were launched, motorists were exiting Interstate 43 to investigate the creatures.

Kite-related highlights at the winter festival will include:

—Kite-flying teams from Chicago, Detroit, Montreal and elsewhere in the upper Midwest.

The teams consist of five people. Each person is in charge of a kite, and the goal is to fly them in unison with other team members. The shows, which start at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16, take place no more than 100 feet in the air.

“It's sort of like the Blue Angels with kites—and with music,” Fisher said.

Solo kite performers also will be featured.

—A kite lift-off. At noon Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16, Fisher hopes to launch at least 500 kites at the same time to the music of “Let's Go Fly a Kite” from the movie “Mary Poppins.” People can bring their own kites or buy them on the ice.

—Flying lessons. Brett Williams—Fisher calls him the "kite whisperer"—will give people kite-flying lessons from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16.

—Performances by indoor kite flyer Connor Doran at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16.

Doran is best known for his appearance on TV's "America's Got Talent," where he wowed judges with his indoor kite-flying skills. The intense concentration required for the sport helped him overcome his epilepsy-related anxiety.

Even with all the colorful objects in the air, the Sky Circus on Ice isn't just about kites.

The nonprofit organization Winter Fun Inc. will sponsor ice-carving and snow-sculpting competitions and demonstrations in downtown Delavan and at Lake Lawn. Artists will shape 300-pound ice blocks and 8-foot-tall snow blocks into circus-themed sculptures.

Warming stations will be set up at either end of downtown, and live music and other activities will be offered, including kite-making workshops and a "mad dash" for kids.

On Monday, Feb. 17, a “best of show” award and other honors will be given to sculptors.

The town of Delavan also will offer an event at Community Park, at the intersection of Highway 50 and South Shore Drive. From 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, visitors can listen to live music from Simple Rezonation, an acoustic folk-rock band, and the Glenn Davis Band, a popular blues group.

From the park, visitors will be able to see the kites in action across the lake.

The festival fits neatly in with Walworth County's efforts to boost winter tourism. In 2012, county tourism officials received a grant to put on and promote more winter events.

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