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

2017 Workshops

Applique the CBP Way with Christian Baden Powell – 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

Indoor Flying with John Barresi –  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.

Stained Glass Techniques with Robert Brasington –  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.

Judging Handmade Kites with Jon Burkhardt – Two sessions, one before the competitions and one after, where participants can meet the judges, find out what they are looking for, and how they determine who wins

Sport Kite Symposium with Scott Davis – 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.

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

Nuts and Bolts of Kitemaking with Ron Gibian –  You’ve sewn a beautiful piece of appliqué. Now what? Two sessions explore the mechanics of finishing a kite, from concept to first flight.

From Sketch to Flight with Lindsey Johnson – Two sessions exploring the world of digital design, fabrication, and 3D printing. Learn about printers, plastics, and making your own custom kite fittings.

Quad Team 101 – It’s Easy! with Team KiteLife – 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)

Tips on Traveling to Foreign Festivals with Deb Lenzen and Mike Shaw – 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!

Taping and Shaping with Ken McNeill – 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.

Social Media and Crowdfunding with Nic O’Neill – 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.

The Future of the AKA with Daniel Prentice –  A roundtable discussion focusing on positive ideas around growing the organization. This is a chance to share your ideas and listen to others.

If a Kid Can Make It, So Can You! with Cliff Quinn – Make and take a classic 24″ diamond kite. All materials will be supplied; just bring your childlike enthusiasm and desire to have fun

The World of a Professional Kite Designer with Mark Reed – 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.

Making and Flying the YFO with Lee Sedgwick – 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.

Make That Art Fly with Drake Smith and TZ Lee –  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.

Glider Kite Aerodynamics with Douglas Stout –  Learn the advantages of swept-forward-wing glider-kites, basic principles of aerodynamics, and how to use computer tools to evaluate designs.

A First Timer’s Guide to the Convention with Phillip Whitaker – Is this your first AKA Convention? This is an opportunity to meet other kiteflyers and to hear ways to get the most from a convention experience.

Sewing Workshops: BRING YOUR OWN SEWING MACHINE: For the first time, the AKA convention would like to offer hands-on sewing workshops. A dedicated room for the machines will be locked when not in use. Several kitemakers have offered to lead workshops including Jon Burkhardt teaching a 40-inch Ohashi, and Lindsey Johnson teaching his “Falenas.” Other classes will be added with enough interest. For participation in the sewing workshops, e-mail the AKA, prior to August 1, at aka@aka.kite.org. Put the words “sewing workshops” in the subject line. Depending on the responses, we will expand this category, or cancel it and use the room for non-sewing workshops. If you express interest, we will e-mail information about all sewing classes, materials, and costs. Here’s to starting a new tradition!

Welcome Reception — Monday Evening Registered attendees are invited to join other kiters at the Kite Loft, 511 Boardwalk, Ocean City, for an opening gala and barbecue, compliments of the Kite Loft. This is the first of many opportunities to catch up with long-time friends and to make new ones. Introductions and schedule changes will be announced.

Great Kite Auction — Friday Evening Friday evening we will gather at the Convention Center for a banquet and The Great Kite Auction. A tradition of AKA Conventions, the Great Kite Auction is the largest fundraiser of the AKA. Members are encouraged to donate modern kites, historical treasures, and other accessories from their collections, then share the fun and excitement in trying to buy some amazing one-of-akind masterpieces others have donated. This is a great opportunity for casual flyers and serious collectors. The auction is open to the public, but banquet tickets must be purchased in advance.

Awards Ceremony and Banquet — Saturday Evening Celebrating a long week of flying and acknowledging another year of kite evolution, the Saturday night banquet will be followed by a full program of awards and remembrances.


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