A Wonderful Winter Day at the Lake
BY: RACHEL WUMKES
Thousands of people flocked to Clear Lake last weekend to attend the Color the Wind Kite Festival. Kite pilots from across the Midwest proudly displayed their kites in every size, shape and color above our frozen lake.
If you missed it, never fear. Just hop on to any social media platform and you can basically experience the entire day through the thousands of photos and videos posted online.
Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to express our gratitude to everyone responsible for pulling off this massive event. You’d be surprised at how much man-power goes into the planning, preparation, and safety for the pilots and the attendees.
So, we thought we’d give the public a little rundown on the ins and outs of Color the Wind!
First up, we’d like to thank the 40+ kite pilots who traveled from across the Midwest to attend our event. I can’t even begin to fathom what it takes to pack up and haul some of these massive kites and all the supplies. It’s no simple feat, that’s for sure!
This crew are the real superstars of the day, braving the cold for hours on end to entertain us.
As always, we would not be able to do what we do here at the Chamber without the support of our many sponsors.
Most people do not realize the amount of financial backing that goes right along with the manpower for these events. To give you a bit of perspective, this is why we must secure sponsors.
Each pilot and their spouse or significant other receive the following from the Chamber:
- Friday evening reception open to kiters, public and sponsors. Food and drinks are provided.
- Saturday morning, they receive a free breakfast.
- Saturday afternoon, we provide them with lunches.
- We provide hotel accommodations for two nights.
- Gas cards are given to pilots to offset travel expenses.
- Saturday night we provide an evening meal.
- A Gift bag is given to each kite pilot, which usually includes some form of clothing item.
And that’s just for the pilots!!
Sponsorship money also covers the cost of running two busses (gas, drivers, etc.) for the duration of the entire event. It pays for porta pots and the various signage placed around town to help people navigate the crowds.
We put all the money received right back into the event. This ensures we are able to provide the ultimate day of winter fun for families to enjoy at no charge.
Nothing in life is cheap (or easy) anymore. These days, simply driving my family through a fast-food restaurant sets me back almost $100. So, to have a full day of family fun, outdoors, enjoying the beauty of our frozen lake for free?
Well, that’s priceless.
It’s the generous sponsorships of businesses and donations from community members who make this awesome event happen, bringing people from far and wide to Clear Lake.
In fact, the week leading up to Color the Wind, we had 30,000 page views on our event website.
That’s pretty impressive for a small town in North Iowa.
The economic impact of Color the Wind for our local businesses is off the charts. We’ve preached for years to shop local and patronize our restaurants, bars, and retail shops. Especially in the winter when tourism is quiet. So for them to get a boost like this in mid-February is astonishing.
In a nutshell, we are beyond thrilled with how the event turned out on Saturday. Thank you, Mother Nature, for the frigid cold ensuring our safety on the ice, and the mild temperatures on Saturday. You just never know what she’ll throw at you, so every year we get to hold this phenomenal event is a WIN for our community.
Thank you, Clear Lakers, for helping us showcase our wonderful community. People don’t just love to visit because of our fun attractions. It’s also because of the awesome, friendly people.
Be sure to mark your calendars for February 17, 2024 (always the 3rd weekend). If you are so inclined to support this event with a donation, you can do so via Venmo @clearlakeareachamber.