ONE OF A KIND SHOWS & ONE OF A KIND TEAM
A passion for kites, sparked by a homemade kite in a small town in Iowa, has led Bruce Flora to create Kiteman Productions, a company dedicated to mesmerizing audiences with unique and innovative kite performances.
A passion for kites, sparked by a homemade kite in a small town in Iowa, has led Bruce Flora to create Kiteman, a company dedicated to mesmerizing audiences with unique and innovative kite performances. With a rich history rooted in kite flying and showmanship, Kiteman has taken the art of kite flying to new heights. From collaborating with world-renowned theme parks to breaking Guinness World Records, the company has become a trailblazer in the themed entertainment industry. Through relentless research and development, Kiteman is continuously pushing the boundaries of what kites can do, captivating audiences around the globe with their spectacular shows and ground-breaking performances.
It all started in 1955, when Bruce’s father crafted a kite in a small Iowa town that lifted Bruce off the ground, igniting a lifelong passion for kites. In 1979, while visiting Sanibel Island, Florida, Bruce purchased a 3-foot plastic Peter Powell stunt kite at Toys Ahoy, further fueling his interest. After sharing this discovery with a friend in Canada, they decided to start a wholesale kite business called “Shooting Star Kites” featuring Peter Powell stunt kites and Tim Bird ornithopters.
Recognizing the need for a broader product line, Bruce attended the largest toy show in Nuremberg, Germany, where he discovered over a hundred kites and air toys previously unavailable in Canada. However, selling these products was challenging due to Canada’s short summer season. To increase sales, they began attending hot air balloon festivals and created a unique kite-flying show using an ATV when there was no wind. This innovative approach garnered media attention, leading to performances for the Montreal Expos baseball team and eventually, a contract with Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme park.
Three years later, Bruce was hired as a consultant for a large-scale lagoon show at Epcot, featuring kites, para-planes, hang gliders, large inflatables, and the world’s largest daytime firework show. After six months of development, he was appointed Manager of the Epcot Kite Department. The show, “Surprise in the Skies!”, featured 12 full-time kite pilots performing team flying with two pilots in each of six high-powered ski boats. Bruce’s involvement in the development and management of this groundbreaking show laid the foundation for his future ventures in the world of kites.
Subsequently, Bruce founded Kiteman in 1993, continuing to share his passion for kites by educating customers and creating unique event experiences involving kites. Kiteman also introduced the first commercial Kiteman Feather Banner to clients in the Orlando, FL area.
Over the years, Kiteman has performed at numerous events, including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Epcot World Festival of Kites, and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Doha, Qatar. Additionally, Kiteman developed training programs to teach others how to safely perform kite shows for large-scale permanent shows worldwide (Tokyo DisneySea, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Studios Spain.)
Kiteman has collaborated with talented performers, technicians, sewers, and engineers to build custom props for theme park rides and other projects. One of his highlights was co-producing the Epcot World Festival of Kites in 1995, aimed at educating and entertaining the public about kites. The event featured 100 kite professionals, kite masters, and makers from around the world, 2,500 kites on display, and broke the record for the World’s Largest Kite.
Another memorable event was his show for the 50th anniversary of the Constitution of Kuwait, where Kiteman was involved in setting a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest fireworks show, with a crew of 29 people, 13 boats, and five kite acts featuring over 20 kites or kite trains with onboard RC lighting and 480 fireworks on the kites.
Most recently, Kiteman has been involved in full-scale productions such as Epcot Forever, where kites played a prominent role in the nightly fireworks display. Additionally, the company contributed to the creation of Disney KiteTails, a daytime event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As part of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration, skilled kite teams performed six shows daily, seven days a week, captivating audiences with their expertise and creativity.
The company recently brought dye-sublimation printing in-house at their Orlando, Florida facility. This transition enables Kiteman to rapidly prototype and customize show elements using dye-sublimation printing and offer custom feather banners.
In November 2023, Kiteman took part in the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in Orlando, Florida. As a leading tradeshow for the themed entertainment industry, this event allowed Kiteman to connect with potential clients from across the nation, opening up new opportunities to introduce kites and kite-making materials to a broader audience.
Kiteman continually emphasizes research and development, with a particular focus on lighting, pyrotechnics, and kite construction. Leveraging recent advancements in kiting technology, Kiteman is well-positioned to develop innovative shows and displays that push the boundaries of kite design and flight, captivating audiences with groundbreaking performances.