(Oct. 2, 2020) Residents and visitors will see an assortment of objects, animals and likely a Trilobite or two in the sky this weekend during the 42nd annual Sunfest Kite Festival.
The festival began on Thursday and will run until Sunday on the beach between Third and Sixth streets.
Jay Knerr, co-owner of The Kite Loft on Fifth Street and the Boardwalk, said his former business partner, Bill Ochse, created the festival back in 1978.
“Ocean City is an ideal place for kite flying,” Knerr said.
Knerr highlighted the resort’s 10 miles of spacious beach and high wind conditions.
With such open space, the kite festival was the ideal event for the city’s, and the county health department’s, covid-19 social distancing regulations.
In addition to leisure kite flying, the festival is often host to a variety of events and records have been set on the beach.
On Sept. 22, 1989, Pete DiGiacomo flew a kite during Hurricane Hugo and reached top speeds of 120 mph, setting a Guinness World Record that still stands today.
An Ocean City police officer aided the achievement by recording the kite’s speed with a radar gun, Knerr said.
Other records the resort has had claim to include largest Rokkaku kite, a six-sided Japanese fighter kite, and most kites on one line — 140.
As for events, there are sports kite demonstration, Rokkaku kite battles, kids-only flying and candy drops.
Because of covid-19, however, many of these events have been tabled, although sport kite flying demonstrations and giant kite flying displays are still a go this year.
There is no set schedule for the festival — everything is all day, all weekend, Knerr said.
Knerr said he would attempt to do the People’s Choice award this year, as well, which is where bystanders vote on their favorite kite.
“So many events have been canceled this year, which has really disappointed a lot of people,” Knerr said. “By having the kite fest it’s a great opportunity for people to come and, whether they spectate or participate in the event, it’s easy to do, it’s fun to do and everybody will have a great time doing it.”
For more information, visit https://kiteloft.com/kite-festival/Sunfest-Kite-Festival/ or call The Kite Loft at 410-289-7855.