High winds on the open prairie helped to decorate the sky with the agile and artistic works from this year's Windscape.
The annual Windscape Kite Festival is a chance for everyone in and around Swift Current to gather together to fly kits together, witness fantastic displays of kite flying by professionals, eat fair food favourites, as well as build kites of their own.
For all of that to come together, it takes a lot of effort from over 180 volunteers, and two full-time organizers for the event that work on getting everything lined up for the entire year between events.
This year's event was organized by Director Amanda Girardin and Assistant Coordinator Keely Williams.
"I started here in March so after having a two-year break and being also new to the team, it was a whirlwind of learning how this thing operated and I'll tell you it took a lot of manpower," stated Girardin. "Again, a big thank you to all the volunteers and the folks that came out to help us."
Girardin and Williams work together helping to organize everything. They contact professional kite flyers from all over North America, set up food trucks, and even work to secure a tractor ride shuttle for people who are left winded after a hot day of kite flying.
"Is my full-time job, and it's excellent," beamed Williams. "I love the festival planning."
With the return of the event, some folks were eager to be back in the field, casting their soaring fabric crafts high on a line into the sky.
10-year-old Serenity George was amongst the eager crowd, proudly displaying the kite she had made at the Windscape Kite building station.
"My favourite part is like all the activities and all the different experiences because it's different every single time you come," exclaimed an excited George. "I really like the triangle ones where they can, like, go around the place and stuff. It's my favourite."
The professional kite flyers operated in teams, flying their agile kites in tight formations that amazed and awed the crowd with complex mid-air dances, maneuvers and stunts.
People out in the stands applauded their ability to maintain formation, avoid crossing wires, as well as not letting a sudden gust of wind disorient their performance.
But much like young George, not everyone was a professional stunt flyer. Keyur Derasari, manager of the local Caesars Pizza, was out with his young family. Along with his wife, his young daughter and son were able to witness the spectacles and crowds while forming memories that he hopes will last them a lifetime.
"My kids are small (three years old and one year old) and I want them to know how the community works over here," said Derasari. "The kite festival is a great place to connect with the people. So I bring them here and hope they enjoy it."
Derasari is from India, where in his home city they also have a kite festival. For him, this is something he can share with his children that he hopes they can grow up loving the same way he did. His daughter was already getting ready to attempt harnessing the wind.
"Oh yeah, she's gonna try," smiled Derasari. "She already made the kite in her Pre-K, so she's gonna try her kite and I got this butterfly one I'm gonna try."
All around the event, children played with kites, but also with the sand pit and its assorted toys. There was a paint spraying wall that let kids fire paint out of a water gun at a board, helping them get the messy play out of their systems. Music of course accompanied the various performances, but there was also Dan the One Man Band performing his favourite hits from various periods.
With streamers and wind socks, giant inflatable dogs and "sled" kites telling the story of a wolf who migrated hundreds of kilometres to reunite with his pack and mate, music and laughter, there was no shortage of entertainment.
All this fun and joy for the community was made possible by members of that same community.
"We're so grateful that all the volunteers were able to come out this year," thanked Williams. "It's been a busy summer. We absolutely cannot do it without them, and I hope everybody enjoyed it."
Windscape plans on returning next year, with planning soon to be underway.