The annual kite festival on Clear Lake is this weekend. (Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce photo)

What’s billed as the Midwest’s largest and most colorful winter kite festival is scheduled for Saturday in north-central Iowa.

Libby Hohn tourism director for the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce says the “Color The Wind Kite Festival” is an exhibition of hundreds of traditional and inflatable kites, and even stunt kites doing aerial choreography to music.

“We’re expecting great crowds and beautiful kites,” Hohn says. “We have dozens of kiters from all over the United States and even a kiter coming over from England to show off their kites.” The 3,600 acre lake is an ideal venue for kiting, she says, as there are no obstacles like trees or power lines. Ten-thousand spectators are expected for the one-day festival which will go on whatever the weather — as long as there’s wind.

“Several years ago, there was very low wind and they would just attach kites to some ATVs and drive them around to try and pick up some wind,” Hohn says. “The way our topography is here in Clear Lake, there’s typically a nice breeze or wind so that’s also what makes us a great sailing lake in the summertime.”

At last check, the ice was 19-inches thick, so it’ll be safe to walk right onto the frozen lake to take in the spectacle in the skies. “We really recommend to dress for the weather. If you want to wear ice cleats on your boots, if you’re going to venture out on the ice, that helps with stability,” Hohn says. “If you’re bringing children, we recommend bringing a wagon or even a sled to pull them around on the ice.”

She notes, only kiters can park on the ice, though there’s free parking at Clear Lake High School and free shuttles. The event runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.