Okoboji Winter Games Kite Festival 2021

Eye on KELOLAND

LAKE OKOBOJI, IOWA (KELO) — During the summer months, a lot of people like to travel to Lake Okoboji in Northwest Iowa for a little fun in the sun.

During the winter, it gets a little slow. That’s why they started what’s called The Okoboji Winter Games.

One added attraction is the Kite Festival, but these are no ordinary kites.

From flying fish to dragons to wild horses, the sky over Lake Okoboji will be a menagerie next month.

“This coming winter games will be our third show,” Steve Boote said.

Steve Boote started the Kite Festival at the lake almost three years ago after he started experimenting with the large high flying kites.

“I got excited I ordered 12 of these things from New Zealand,” Boote said.

From there, the Okoboji Winter Games Kite Festival was taking to the skies.

“It’s energy, it’s fun, it’s smiles, I like to think it’s our way of giving back,” Boote said.

“The other thought is, let’s do something for the families let’s start to bring back winter games or at least add to the winter games by doing something at the park,” Boote said.

The large kites, which can be up to 150 feet in length, inflate with the wind.

“If it’s an animal they’ll make the mouth mash or it’ll have a flap so it kind of lets the wind in and it doesn’t come out and the kite gets structure from the pressurization and they fly,” Boote said.

The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce is in charge of the Okoboji Winter Games. It will be taking extra precautions this year due to the pandemic.

Don: How is this going to work during the pandemic, have you guys talked about that?
Kiley Zankowski: Every day we are meeting we are learning to pivot and adjust and come up with new plans, we are constantly adjusting we are preparing a lot of safety precautions, we are following all the guidelines trying to be very very safe, but we still want to bring an element of fun and joy to people.

They say the kite festival on the ice is open and spacious.

“One thing with the kites, that’s something you can stand hundreds of feet away, you can be on the other side of the lake and you can still see those kites up in the air, it just brings so much joy and fun whether your are five years old or 85 years old seeing these kites brings that inner child out in you, it’s just an amazing event,” Zankowski said.

Plus, it brings money to area businesses when it’s typically a slow time of year.

“We are definitely a seasonal location, people here in Northwest Iowa don’t think of coming here in the middle of winter, they typically want to escape to somewhere much warmer, so when we have activities like winter games and kites on the ice, it attracts people to the area from all over the state, all over the midwest, all over the country and beyond, it’s huge for us, like another fourth of July, it’s a great economic boost for our local businesses for our area as a whole it just helps our businesses succeed and thrive and stay open,” Zankowski said.

“Adults, children, it doesn’t matter, it’s so inspiring,” Boote said.

The Okoboji Winter Games and Kite Festival is always the last weekend in January, click here to learn more.

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