Kites Dot Skies Over Lake Mendota

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

(Madison) Some giant, very colorful high-flying objects marked the skies over Lake Mendota Saturday. Madison 's 7th annual Kites on Ice kicked off with a big crowd and plenty of kites.

"Where else do people go and are crazy enough to fly on ice," kiter Greg Rasberry asks.

They go to Madison 's Kites on Ice festival.

"It's pretty amazing," one spectator says.

It's where you can see a giant manta ray, or a friendly genie dot the sky.
Sue Lembo-Schutz, who helps promote the event, says "they've got kites that are as big as a house. They're huge, absolutely huge."

"That's a 15-foot round red devil," Rasberry says of his $1,500 kite.
Rasberry is a copier repair expert from Milwaukee. He flies in his free time.

"Some of these people do it for a living, but I don't know how they make money."

Big kites fascinate Rasberry, but kites he can control fascinate 12-year-old Zachary Gordon from Chicago. Gordon says, "once I start flying all the worries of crashing go away." Gordon skillfully maneuvers his kite to a tune from Spiderman 2.

"When you've been flying for a while, when you hear songs like in movies, you can kind of envision your kite going to the song," Gordon explains. While he and his four-line kite do a careful dance, crowds quietly watch.

Spectator Chelcy Bowles says, "we love this precision flying to music and also just the color, the skill of everybody keeping these kites up." But as important as looking up, is keeping an eye on the ice below your feet.

Lembo-Schutz says, "we've checked it several times. It's 12 to 24 inches depending on where you are on the lake."

Organizers expect 80, 000 people and pets to trudge or slide their way here. Kites on ice runs through Sunday. It also features a variety of indoor events.

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