A post on the official Facebook page for the Mille Lacs Kite Crossing, made Feb. 7, has indicated that the kite crossing will not continue in 2021 or beyond. The annual event, beginning in 2005, has occurred for the past 16 years with windsurfers of all skill levels racing across the icy surface of Mille Lacs.
The statement, signed by director Mike Fox, begins by noting that last year’s crossing arrived just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with awareness growing, but the only face masks were needed for warmth.The post goes on to state that after 16 successful years, those who run the event have taken time to evaluate the needs of the event. While the conclusion of the post states that the Mille Lacs Kite Crossing is proud of what it has accomplished, it also adds that the event will now be discontinued.
The post reflects on the years that the kite crossing has run, as well as the first year, coming off the success of two decades of the summer Mille Lacs Crossing windsurfing event. The post cites the first year, and years to follow, as a learning experience about the demands of putting on a high-risk event. Conditions from year to year are elaborated on, from a sheet of ice with small islands of snow, a moat of water preventing access to the lake, and a seemingly lunar landscape. The support of the Garrison community and loyal sponsors is credited for allowing the event to happen.
When asked for more detail about why the event has been permanently canceled, a representative from the event, John Murray, said, “The pandemic of course made this year difficult, but after 16 successful crossings, the director of Fleet 8, Michael Fox, has decided not to move forward with events in the future. Fleet 8 developed the Mille Lacs Winter Kite Crossing after their experience facilitating summer Mille Lacs Crossings (a windsurfing event) and growing interest in snow kiting.”
He added, “We are grateful for the Garrison community, the Garrison Commercial Club and all the area businesses for hosting us over the years.”