{January 9, 2013}   Cool Kite Flight

I don’t like being cold, so I’m not a big fan of many winter activities in Wisconsin. That puts any of the many polar plunge events in the state way outside my comfort zone.

With below-freezing temperatures on New Year’s Day, I couldn’t bring myself to strip down to a swimsuit at Bradford Beach and plunge into Lake Michigan like hundreds of people who participated in the Polar Bear Plunge this year. (I’m putting off that kind of bone-chilling adventure until February or March when I plan to do one of these chilly dips.)

Instead, my husband and I bundled up the boys and headed to Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront for the Cool Fool Kite Festival. Gift of Wings, a store aimed at kite and aviation enthusiasts, has organized this winter kite fest for 26 years, but it was our family’s first time participating.

The day was bright and sunny, but with the temperature that morning hovering around 20°, we dressed in long underwear, boots, coats, scarves, hats and gloves, then I tucked a couple hand warmers in my pockets just in case. (Did I mention I’m not a fan of cold weather?)

When we arrived around noon, we discovered our oldest had been more interested in remembering his hand-held video game than his gloves. So I handed over mine and immediately opened the hand warmers. Crisis averted.

There were quite a few kites of varying colors and sizes already in the air, dipping, diving and spinning circles. The wind speed was fluctuating between 5 and 15 mph, which was just enough to get the boys’ dragon and doggy kites off the ground. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it is to see kites take flight and tug on their lines to keep them aloft. The boys had fun while the breeze lasted, but it soon died down and with it, the boys’ enthusiasm.

That was our cue to warm up with free hot chocolate, coffee and snacks from the friendly folks at Caribou Coffee. (A big thank you to them…I don’t think I’d have lasted much longer without the piping-hot coffee!)

It’s amazing how hot chocolate and cookies gave a second wind to our boys. Because soon they were eager to watch a family of ice artists engineer an igloo and penguins from huge chunks of ice. While the kids moved on to chipping away at a sample ice block, I kept my hands wrapped around my coffee cup and asked the carvers about their craft, the crystal-clear ice that was their canvas, and the tools they used. (A household iron? Who’d have guessed? It helps shape the ice and give it a smooth, clear finish.) It’s a skill that takes talent…and a predilection for the cold.

By the time my coffee had cooled, my feet were beginning to feel like blocks of ice, too. So we started for home, colder but wiser. (Next time, double-check that everyone has gloves!)

Want to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Check out my first post here.


Jackie says:

Sounds like a fun family outing. Nicely done! I’d be happy sponsor you for the Polar Plunge. Anyone one who’s willing to do that for charity, deserves a few pesos.

Thanks, Jackie! That’s so nice of you! Better yet, how about you join me? I’ll sponsor you right back. 🙂

Dolores Kastello says:

    Cool in so many ways!!!!

Thanks! It definitely was!

Tina says:

Sounds like a fun outing and the colorful kites with snow backgrounds make great pics. I’m glad to learn of an everyday iron being used because I am more likely to ice sculpt with mine than press an item of clothing, so it gives me hope that the the nice pink iron my parents got me at Target a couple years ago when they were visiting (had no idea where mine was) will get some use. I’ve resorted to superglue for the girl scout badges so iron has been abandoned.

Ha! I know what you mean. The most use my iron gets is for ironing on Cub Scout patches. And now that I know superglue works, I might not even need to use it at all! Thanks for the tip!

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