By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
The Crestline Kooks are at it again! Every other Sunday night during the summer they will be offering a free parasailing show at the Crestline launch site. These Sunday night flights began on June 6.
They started the summer season with music, parasailors showing off and Tye Dye tacos selling dinner to those hungry folks who didn’t bring a picnic lunch. It is a family-friendly atmosphere. Since there is limited parking on Playground Drive, carpooling is suggested.
This free local event will be hosted twice a month during the summer season by the Crestline Kooks, a group of friends and lighter-than-air pilots who enjoy coming together to fly around Teddy Bear Peak and entertain the gathered spectators. Hangliders and parasailing pilots launch from that designated U.S. Forest Service site in Crestline all year long. but offer these special events during the summer.
The Sunday night flights will take place, weather permitting, on June 20, July 4, July 18, Aug, 1, Aug. 15 and Aug. 29. Three nights will also be costume nights with June 20 being 70s night, while July 18 is Hawaiian night and, on Aug. 29, they’re having a costume contest.
During Sunday night flights, which begin at 5:30 and last until sunset, there will be live music, a slack line, hacky-sack games, food and other activities while watching up to 20 fliers launch and fly off the hillside in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring a blanket or beach chairs to sit and enjoy the flight antics of the parasailors.
Watching the parasailors do amazing aerobatics, including upside-down loops and crisscrossing and high-fiving one another directly in front of those gathered, is an amazing experience. On June 6, the wind was quite strong, so Ben Karselbaum demonstrated the strength of the wind before flying, showing how powerful the winds could be, pulling him across the launch site, while also demonstrating the use of the various ropes and cords connected to the sail itself while still near the ground so all could see the manipulation of the cords.
Later, four parasailors were able to launch and be in flight at the same time, right in front of more than 100 thrilled spectators. “It is so much fun being out here this evening, with so many other watching this tonight,” said Crestline resident and owner of Wears the Mountain, Sara Green.
This is the third year the Crestline Kooks have hosted this twice-monthly event where they invite people of all ages to attend. Each Sunday night flight will have a different local band performing. They had three raffles taking place this first time, offering a wonderful painting of parasailing, a tandem sailing lesson and a $100 gift basket.
Wyatt Weaver is one of the Crestline Kooks who has been flying for three years. His brother, Luke Weaver, is a parasailing instructor who taught him many of these techniques.
“It is amazing up there!” Wyatt said. “It takes some special skills to take off and land at the same place, but we enjoy doing that up here. We’re all licensed and certified to fly and we get a good vibe demonstrating our skills.”
For those who are interested in learning to parasail and hang glide, Jeremy Conrad runs Evergreen Paragliding classes, offering tandem lessons; contact him on Instagram @evergreenconrad or at (605) 376-4710. Another good instructor is Steven Nowak of Neverland Paragliding, (909) 202-9581. Contact the Crestline Kooks through Fort Gregory in Top Town Crestline. For more information, see their Instagram site @Crestlinekooks or watch their “Crestline Kooks” YouTube video.
Parasailors may land back at the Teddy Bear jump off point, but hang gliders sail faster, so they fly all the way down to San Bernardino to the Andy Jackson Landing Park behind Cal State University at San Bernardino.
The Teddy Bear launch site in Crestline is located at 900 Playground Road, off Crest Forest Drive in Crestline.