When the fireworks on July 4 ring in another year of independence for the United States, they will also ring in the umpteenth annual Festival of Free Flight, an event so old its starting date has been lost in time.
Starting Thursday at 9 a.m., the pilots meeting will serve as a prologue to the festival itself, which features a three-day long paraglider and hang-glider competition.
The event is centered around Black Cap in Lake County, which is the ideal launching point for paragliders and hang-gliders.
Flights typically last the whole day, starting at 10 a.m. and ending around sunset.
Different competitions for the event include a spot-landing contest, a speed race, and paragliders will also track their cumulative miles flown.
After the gliders complete their spot-landing contest at Hunter’s Hot Springs, they, along with all others in Lake County, are invited to the Feeley Feast, a big barbeque put on to provide the gliders a chance to mingle with one another, unwind, meet their fellow gliders and, most importantly, share their gliding stories.
The feast is put on by Jimmy Feeley and Diana Feeley-Bird, who started coming to Lakeview 20 years ago to launch off Black Cap and created the feast with the best of intentions.
The food is completely free, donated, prepared and cooked by the Feeleys.
Pre-registration for the event is $30, or $35 on the first day of competition.
Gliders can register by contacting the Chamber of Commerce at 541-947-6040.