(Sept. 20, 2019) The 41st annual Kite Festival began Thursday and runs until Sunday on the beach between Fourth and Sixth streets.
Hundreds of colorful kites of all shapes, sizes and styles will take over the Ocean City sky during the free four-day event.
“Kite flying is a really fun family activity,” said Jay Knerr, manager of the Kite Loft, which hosts the event. “It’s something any family or age range can do. It’s fun to get out there as a family. It could be a simple diamond kite and just go out and enjoy the day.
“People love it,” he continued. “There are so many people out there that enjoy high flying and they like doing it as a group. It brings a lot of people together from all over the regional area. That includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington D.C., Delaware and all the surrounding states.”
This year’s main theme will be geared toward marine animals and other sea creatures, Knerr said. Every day has its own mini theme though, including Feline Friday, Sea Life Saturday and Super Kite Sunday.
“This year will be the return of Mel, the giant 200-foot whale,” Knerr said. “He will be making an appearance over the sky of Ocean City during our festival. He is spectacular to see.”
Some new events will be introduced this year, including a mini Rokkaku (pronounced row-caw-coo) battle and a giant bubble show, weather permitting.
“We have these two-foot kites and a Rokkaku is a six-sided kite that was used in ancient China and they used to battle with these kites,” Knerr said. “Back in the day, they were huge. They were 50 feet tall and the whole town would come out with their Rokkakus and they would battle these kites over the river and they would try to knock the other ones out of the sky.
“Towns would compete against one another and the town that was successful in winning the battle would have good luck and success for the upcoming year,” he continued. “We do it on a much smaller scale. These are two-foot kites. We have teams of two people and the idea is to be the last man standing. You take out all the other guys in the air.”
In addition, there will be quad line demos throughout the festival. Quad kites are four-line kites flown in formation. Several times during the festival as many as 16 quad flyers will be side by side, flying to music in perfect formation.
Other activities include the popular Candy Drop, where candy is released from a kite from 100 feet in the air. This event will take place Saturday and Sunday at noon and today at 2:30 p.m.
Mike Van Meers, the kite festival beach coordinator, will be directing all activities on the beach, including one of his favorites, which is Boardwalk Dancing.
Boardwalk Dancing is an event where people of all ages listen to music and dance, then are judged for prizes.
On Saturday at 1 p.m. the Kite Loft will hand out free kites to the first 60 children who stop by the shop. Only those between the ages of 5 and 12 are eligible for a free kite.
Professionals will help the children assemble and launch the kite right on the beach at Fifth Street.
The event is free to participate. Activities will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
For more information, call 410-289-7855 or visit www.kiteloft.com.