AKA Annual Convention

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The 40th AKA Annual Convention will be held in Ocean City, Maryland on Monday, October 9th to Saturday, October 14th, 2017!

The AKA was founded in 1964, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the organization held its first convention in Ocean City, Maryland. Now, 40 years later, the AKA is excited to celebrate by returning to Ocean City to fly on the same beach where it all started so long ago. The dreams of those kite pioneers will be flying high this October 9-14.

As a flying location, the Ocean City beach has been declared by some to be “The Kiteflying Capital of the World” due to its wide beach, regular winds, and the community’s support of kiteflying. Attendees can fly into the local Salisbury/Ocean City airport or drive down from Washington or Baltimore. The kiteflying will be held on the beach between the Kite Loft and our host hotel, The Park Place. There is a wide range of other accommodations within an easy walk.

Ocean City has a modern convention center just a few miles from the flying fields. Convention registrants will be able to take a free shuttle to and from the convention center simply by showing their registration badges. At the center, we will hold our auction, banquets, and meetings. There is a great indoor flying facility for Wednesday night which is something you won’t want to miss. On Thursday night, the Fly Market will open with new fanfare as many kite manufacturers have agreed to set up their booths to display what’s new for 2018.

Every morning there will be an amazing choice of workshops held in four rooms for two sessions: 9:00-10:15 and 10:30-11:45. We are lucky to have such a generous community of artists who are volunteering time to share their kite passion with convention attendees. All workshops are free to registered attendees only. Some classes require that you bring your own materials while others offer the option of buying materials at the workshop. The list below is subject to change, and an actual schedule (plus a materials list) will be published online no later than September 1, 2017. Go to www.kite.org for more details.

Last but not least, every afternoon there will be lots of kiteflying. In addition to the competitions and mass-ascensions, there will be space for show kites and demonstrations. The public will be invited to enjoy the celebration. The Convention Committee has worked hard for the last year to make all this happen and I am honored to have had the time to work with them. I invite you to come join us. Let’s celebrate our 40th Grand National Convention!

Phillip Whitaker

Convention Committee Chairman

Registration is open online for the Annual Convention! Register now and take advantage of the early registration savings! Sign on to the members only page of Kite.org and follow the instructions. http://members.kite.org/event-2263833


AKA Workshop Schedule

Ocean City, MD  October 10-14, 2017

Please note: All workshops are free to registered participants of the AKA Convention.  All workshop presenters are volunteers and donate their time for free.  In some classes, there may be a charge for materials but purchase is not required to sit in the classroom. There is no pre-registration for particular classes and while presenters do their best to estimate attendance–supplies may be limited to first-come, first-served basis.

If you are taking a sewing class, it is recommended that you contact us soon for pre-purchase of materials or bring your own. If you have any questions, email us at aka@aka.kite.org or call 609-755-5483. The workshop schedule is subject to change.

Tuesday, October 10

Team KiteLife, QUAD TEAM 101—IT’S EASIER THAN IT LOOKS:  If you are intimidated but intrigued by the idea of quad team flying, this is the workshop for you, as all four members of Team KiteLife will be demystifying the process with this on-field workshop. (BYOK) Exact time and field location to be announced.

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Christian Baden Powell, APPLIQUE THE CBP WAY:  Two sessions to learn how to design and create exquisite ripstop appliqués with multiple colors, tracing paper and hot knife.  A hands-on demonstration with a light table.

Lindsey Johnson, FROM SKETCH TO FLIGHT: Two sessions exploring the world of digital design, fabrication and 3D printing. Learn about printers, plastics and making your own custom kite fittings.

Cliff Quinn, IF A KID CAN MAKE IT, SO CAN YOU: Make and take a classic 24” diamond kite. All materials will be supplied; just bring your childlike enthusiasm and desire to have fun.

Jon Burkhardt, SEWING AN OHASHI KITE: This class requires a sewing machine and the purchase of materials to make a 40” kite ready to fly.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Phillip Whitaker, A FIRST TIMER’S GUIDE TO THE CONVENTION: Is this your first AKA Convention?  It is an opportunity to meet other kiteflyers and to hear ways to get the most from a convention experience.

Christian Baden Powell, APPLIQUE THE CBP WAY continues to 11:45.

Lindsey Johnson, FROM SKETCH TO FLIGHT continues to 11:45

Jon Burkhardt, SEWING AN OHASHI KITE continues to 11:45.

Wednesday, October 11

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Robert Brasington, STAINED GLASS TECHNIQUES:  Australian kitemaker Brasington will lead two sessions sharing his secrets and tips about how to choose graphics and convert them into kites that fly in the sky with colors like a piece of stained glass artwork.

Lee Sedgwick, MAKING AND FLYING THE YFO:  The first of two sessions will be indoors learning how to make your own YFO kite. In the second session, outdoors, you will learn flying techniques whether bridled for single, dual, tri, or quad line.

Jon Burkhardt, JUDGING HANDMADE KITES: For judges, competitors or anybody curious about how kites will be judged in the week’s competitions.

Lindsey Johnson, SEWING FALENAS: (Sewing machine required) Learn to sew these whimsically delightful ground displays using Tyvek and 3-D printed custom parts. Kits cost $15 and a 6-foot pole is about $4.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Folks often think of indoor flying as a “constant effort to survive,” but in this flying workshop we can help you be successful with almost any indoor kite. (BYOK)

Mitch Cordover, MAKE A NO-SEW FIGHTER KITE:  Learn to assemble a ripstop fighter kite without sewing.  Minimal cost for materials.

Daniel Prentice, THE FUTURE OF THE AKA: A roundtable discussion focusing on positive ideas around growing the organization.  This is a chance to share your ideas and listen to others.

Robert Brasington, STAINED GLASS TECHNIQUES continues to 11:45.

Lindsey Johnson, SEWING FALENAS continues to 11:45.

Thursday, October 12

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Ken McNeill, TAPING AND SHAPING: Two sessions concentrating on the use of adhesive tapes for simple sail construction and advanced three-dimensional sail design. Includes theory and hands-on demonstration.

Douglas K. Stout, GLIDER KITE AERODYNAMICS, AND TUNING: Learn the advantages of swept-forward-wing glider-kites, basic principles of aerodynamics, and how to use computer tools to evaluate designs.

Nic O’Neill, SOCIAL MEDIA AND CROWDFUNDING: In two separate workshops, the first examines marketing your kite event or business through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or one of the other major social media platforms. The second looks at how to crowdfund your project.

Mike Mosman, SEWING TIPS I’VE LEARNED FROM A MASTER, or Channeling Harold Ames. Rather on trying to complete a kite, this sewing class will focus on a range of sewing techniques useful in the craft. Bring sewing materials, ideas and questions.

Lee Sedgwick, MAKING AND FLYING THE YFO:   In this second session held outdoors, you will learn flying techniques whether bridled for single, dual, tri, or quad line. Exact location to be announced in Sedgwick’s Wednesday class.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Mark Reed, THE WORLD OF A PROFESSIONAL KITE DESIGNER: What if your cool idea for a kite also had to feed your family? A look inside how we develop Prism Kites from concept to final production.

Ken McNeill, TAPING AND SHAPING continues to 11:45.

Nic O’Neill, SOCIAL MEDIA AND CROWDFUNDING continues to 11:45.

Friday, October 13

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Ron Gibian, NUTS AND BOLTS OF KITEMAKING: You’ve sewn a beautiful piece of appliqué. Now what? Two sessions explore the mechanics of finishing a kite, from concept to first flight.

Paul Dugard, BUBBLES, BUBBLES, BUBBLES: Learn everything you need to know about making bubbles for small or large crowds including mixing the solution, making wands and producing dazzling bubbles. Two sessions offer theory indoors and practice outdoors.

Rick Kinnaird, DOUBTFUL DELTAS, PROBLEMATIC PARAFOILS, AND TERRIBLE TAILS–Kite design problems and how to overcome them.  This is centered on the work of Bill Bigge and Peter Lynn.

Mike Dertien, FLAT TAILS AND SLICK TECHNIQUES. This sewing class will not use kits but rather will explore techniques for converting a design into fabric. While working on a kite tail, you will learn hot and cold cutting, how to sew straight for alignment, use of flat-felled seams, attaching sections, edging and reinforcements. Bring assorted colors of fabric for making several tails.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Valerie Govig, EARLY HISTORY OF THE AKA. Did you ever wonder how the AKA began? What were the goals?  Here is your chance to learn from the person who organized that first meeting in 1978.

Ron Gibian, NUTS AND BOLTS OF KITEMAKING continues to 11:45.

Paul Dugard, BUBBLES, BUBBLES, BUBBLES continues to 11:45.

Mike Dertien, FLAT TAILS AND SLICK TECHNIQUES continues to 11:45.

Saturday, October 14

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Drake Smith and T.Z. Lee, MAKE THAT ART FLY:  Not all kites begin as kites; some begin as paintings. Learn how to turn a canvas into a flying kite using different platforms and techniques

Scott Davis, SPORT KITE SYMPOSIUM: An opportunity to meet with members of the sport kite committee and judges to ask questions, make suggestions, discuss rules, and offer ideas and direction for promoting the sport.

Jim Powers, KITE AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY (KAP):  A unique look into the world of working kites; this is a show-and-tell of KAP equipment, photos and how to get started in KAP.

Sewing workshop, OPEN STUDIO.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Deb Lenzen and Mike Shaw, TIPS ON TRAVELING TO FOREIGN FESTIVALS:  How to prepare, pack, and plan a trip to a foreign kite festival, and what to do when you get there.  It’s a great adventure!

Jon Burkhardt, JUDGING HANDMADE KITES:  In this post-judging session, hear the judges discuss what they saw, and how to do things in the future. If you have questions about judging, this is the place to be.

Susie Jo Skinner, MAKING MINATURE KITES: After years of making championship-level miniature kites, Skinner shares her insights, kitemaking tips and know-how.  


Registration can either be done online via the members only portal, or via mail.

(see page 5 of the below pdf for a mail in form)

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What does the Convention Cost?

In order to attend an AKA Convention, an individual must be a current member and be officially registered for the event.

The price of registration varies from year to year and is determined by dividing the convention expenses by the expected number of attendees.  All costs of presenting an annual convention are paid from registration fees and are not subsidized by membership dues.  Costs may include receptions and banquets, room rentals, registration supplies, management and equipment such as stages and sound systems.

What Is the Convention?

The AKA Convention is an annual five day gathering of kite enthusiasts, artists, and competitors. The Convention ranks as one of the largest kite gatherings in the world. Convention activities include educational workshops, games, displays, and the Grand National kite competitions for kite making and sport kite flying. Committee and general business meetings are scheduled. Other highlights are the Great Kite Auction which offers unique and hard to get kite products and a retail FlyMarket for small vendors. The Convention is held in different locations each year and is scheduled in September or October. The gathering is only open to AKA members.

For more information about the Annual Convention contact our convention manager at convention@aka.kite.org

Auction Items

Are you planning on gifting an item to the Annual Auction? Please fill out this form and email it to convention@aka.kite.org

2017 AKA Auction Form


Site bids are being accepted for 2018