Kites unable to launch along St. Helens waterfront; quilts get wet in rain

The organizer of last weekend’s Wind and Water Festival in St. Helens said Tuesday, Sept. 2, that foul weather spoiled the outdoor event.

According to Tina Curry with Discover Columbia County, teams of professional kite-flyers and kiteboarders were unable to launch due to practically nonexistent wind. Meanwhile, she said, rain showers dampened the atmosphere — and the quilts, some of them from out-of-town, that were displayed in the gazebo at Columbia View Park.

“Mother Nature did not cooperate,” said Curry, adding, “These things happen.”

In an interview last month with the Spotlight, Curry had hoped for “a couple thousand people” to come to the festival, if weather conditions were good.

Instead, she said Tuesday, would-be attendees lost interest due to the lack of kite displays.

“There was lots of people that came by ... but with no wind, you can’t put any kites in the air, so there would be no reason to stop. ... They would have no reason to get out of their cars, because there were no kites in the air,” Curry said.

Winds in St. Helens seldom topped 3 mph on Saturday and Sunday, the days of the festival, according to Curry.

“You have to have at least 5 miles an hour to get kites to go up in the air,” said Curry, adding that the low winds also discouraged kiteboarders who came out for the festival from going out on the Columbia River for their planned demonstrations.

The quilt show in the gazebo was a minor bright spot. Curry said a rare windy moment helped to dry the quilts after they were “soaked” by what she called “a torrential downpour” Saturday, and the quilts attracted some interest from festival-goers undeterred by the weather conditions.

“I think probably 100 — 100 people came to see the quilts,” Curry said.

Curry declined to offer an estimate of total attendance at the two-day festival, saying she had “no idea” how many people came to the event.

Wind and Water was meant to be St. Helens’ last community celebration of the summer season. The city’s next major festival is the annual Spirit of Halloweentown celebration, which is expected to last most of next month and include a variety of activities and events around town.

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