Marina, 10 miles north of Monterey, hosts the Marina International Festival of the Winds

Sunset

It's easier to touch the sky from certain places in theWest. Standing atop the sand dunes in Marina, with the wind comingat you from Monterey Bay, you can't help but think that if you openyour arms and flap a bit, you'll be carried to the clouds.

Marina, 10 miles north of Monterey, is in a good spot forbreezes. Its daily atmospheric push-and-pull created Marina StateBeach's towering white sand dunes, which hang gliders call an ideallaunch spot.

"Marina is known as a windy city," agrees Don Livermore, a localmiddle school librarian. Six years ago, he and a few others dreamedup the Marina International Festival of the Winds to, as you mightsay, accentuate the place's positive.

Conceived as a science fair, the festival has grown into acitywide party with 20,000 attendees cheering all things windy― including monster-size kites, paper airplanes, and minihot-air balloons. Plus taiko drummers and jazz bands. And the wholething is, like the wind, free.

Whether you hit the festival or just stroll the beach, Marina isa good place to look to the sky and let your thoughts soar. TheFifth Annual Marina InternationalFestival of the Winds is May 8-9, 2004 in Glorya Jean TatePark, across from Marina State Beach (off State 1 at ReservationRd.; 831/595-7516). ― Lisa Taggart

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