Catherine Piotrowski appreciates Lakeshore State Park in many ways. As a Prairie Pal, she enjoys planting, weeding and culling the short-grass prairie along with the other members of the Garden Club of Greater Milwaukee. As a long-time Milwaukeean, Catherine likes the beauty of the lakefront. And most of all, she loves the clean wind that happens at Lakeshore State Park.
A wind that blows predictably with no obstacles like trees or tall buildings to go around is a clean wind and it’s a gift to kite-flying. Catherine has been kite-flying since retiring from teaching Spanish in Milwaukee Public Schools over a decade ago. She enjoys single-line flying of delta kites and dual-line flying for larger kites and inflatables, such as her 21-foot tall skeleton kite, but she really lights up when describing quad-line flying.
Quad-lines are for making stunt kites dance. With skill, four lines and the right wind, she can make stunt kites pivot, hover, spin, swoop and loop. Catherine choreographs routines to music and performs them at kite festivals around the country. She enjoys the challenge of adapting to the wind conditions of the day, as Catherine says wind- “shift happens”
She, her husband and their 100 kites can be found at Milwaukee kite festivals as well as ones in Washington, Florida, Oklahoma and Montana. They travel to find good wind and meet up with kite-flying friends. They particularly enjoy mentoring those new to kiting. While in Washington state they spend a day teaching children aged 3-12 how to fly a kite and coach them through kite skills games.
To learn more about kiting, go to one of Milwaukee’s three annual kite festivals at Veteran’s Park: Cool Fool Kite Festival on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day weekend and the first weekend in September for the Frank Mots International Festival. Or look for Catherine at Lakeshore State Park. After a morning of volunteering in the prairie, she can be found with her kite catching some clean wind. The Friends of Lakeshore State Park will be hosting events with kites at the park; look for more info in a future newsletter