Unique festival continues to attract many visitors to Swift Current
A unique festival that combines kite flying with various other activities to provide entertainment for the entire family continues to attract many visitors to Swift Current.
Facts and figures have been released about the 14th annual SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival that highlights the success of this year's event.
The 2018 Windscape Kite Festival took place June 23-24 and attracted about 8,500 visitors.
Sheri Florizone, the cultural festivals director for the Windscape Kite Festival and the associated Long Day’s Night Music Festival, feels it was a good number.
“The festival went really well with a lot of great plans for next year already,” she said.
“One of the special things we did this year was to work with a team of videographers and so we’re going to have a really fantastic couple of videos that we’re going to be able to use in the future for next year for promotion and engagement around the festival.”
A survey of festivalgoers indicated that 100 per cent of them will recommend Windscape to family and friends. Florizone believes visitors enjoy the festival so much because it is very unique.
“It's not just for flyers,” she said. “There's activities as well. So it really rounds out to be this fantastic family experience. It's very unique for the prairies.”
There were 42 celebrity kite flyers at this year's festival. They came from Canada, the United States and other parts of the world. They also commented on how different Windscape is compared to other kite flying events.
“They said they really appreciated our event because although we’re not the only kite festival in Canada or in the world, we have a very unique event, she mentioned.
“It’s not just kite flying for the flyers – it’s lessons, it’s being able to make your own kite, it’s being able to buy your own kite, do different activities with your family, with your children, and our picnic area and being able to spend the full two days if you want there, enjoying the time and activities that we offer. So it was really nice to hear from the flyers themselves, not just all the wonderful comments we get from the visitors as well.”
A significant portion of attendees at the festival will be people who are returning to Windscape because they enjoy the experience so much.
“I heard that quite a bit,” she said. “It's definitely something people return to each year and I think that speaks to the variety of the flyers that we have. We've got two full days of performances by the celebrity flyers plus every year we're always looking for new entertainment. This year we had a lovely guitar player cum magician and just the most fabulous stilt walker.”
Attendance numbers on the four nights of the Long Day's Night Music Festival were also good at around 1,700 people from June 21-24.
The Thursday night show by the popular Saskatchewan band The Dead South was sold out.
There was good attendance the following two evenings, but it was a bit lower on Sunday night.
“Sunday kind of slows down a little bit, but anybody that was there was really treated to a special evening,” she said.
“Tara Lightfoot actually brought everybody out into the sunset and played a song, and it kind of makes the whole weekend worth it when you have moments like that during the festival.”
It takes a lot of planning and dedication to arrange the Windscape Kite Festival and the success of the event is only possible through the involvement of various partners and funders as well as the enthusiasm of over 200 volunteers.
This was a learning experience for Florizone, who was appointed as cultural festivals director in 2017 after Shann Gowan's retirement.
“It was definitely a whirlwind experience,” Florizone said. “There's so much work and effort put into setting up for the SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival and also the Long Day's Night Music Festival. It was really incredible to see how everyone works together to get that set up. I really would have to thank Shann Gowan for still being by my side during this year and providing her expertise and her knowledge, and also the festival assistant Keely Williams, who of course has been involved with the festival from the beginning and really was invaluable.
“There's just so much to know and I know that every year will be a learning experience, not just this first year.”
Cultural Festivals Director Sheri Florizone made a presentation about the 2018 Windscape Kite Festival and Long Day's Night Music Festival at a regular City of Swift Current council meeting, July 30.