The Santa Barbara Kite Festival returns after two years
The Santa Barbara Kite Festival will return to the Santa Barbara City College West Campus Lawn today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be the 36th held in the city since its inception and will occupy the Great Meadows next to the Garvin Theatre. at 721 Cliff Drive.
‘Up’ is the theme for this year’s festival, a selection intended as a positive statement of change in the community and the return of the festival after a two-year hiatus. Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies, light winds and cooler temperatures. If these conditions hold, it will be a great day of kiting.
The Children’s Kite Tail Chase features Rakesh Bahadur’s Kite Master. Mr. Bahadur is the founder of the kite festival, which he started in San Francisco in 1973. In 1980, he brought the festival to Santa Barbara with his kite shop, Come Fly a Kite. The shop closed about 5 years ago when he retired, but the festival remains.
Mr. Bahadur was also named “Master of Kite Flying” by the America Kite Flyers Association in 1981. His family was the first family to open a kite shop in America. Mr. Bahadur has been flying kites since he was three years old.
According to Bahadur, in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, kite fighting is enjoyed as a challenging sport, not a hobby.
“It’s the best thing you can do. It’s an extension of yourself when you fly, it’s almost like you’re flying yourself when you fly a kite. Men always want to fly Mr. Bahadur told News-Press.
The festival will feature friendly competitions: “Best of Fest”, “Best Ground Display”, “Youngest & Oldest Kite Flyers”, “Most Unique/Unusual Kite”, “Funniest Kite”, “Most Un-flyable Kite”, “Most Beautiful” (handmade and commercial), “Highest Flying”, “Largest & Smallest Kites” and “Sport Flying”. Prizes will be awarded to all winners of the competition.
The most important prize is the Lion Award, created in memory of local philanthropist Chad Dreier, whose family is still one of the main supporters of the festival. The name of the award was inspired by the Dreier family’s support of the lion habitat at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The award recognizes the person who has the most impact on the happiness and success of the festival.
“It brings people outside and you get the feeling of the wind. It’s like sailing. It’s more like meditating when you fly kites, you’re just with the kites. It’s like heart to heart,” Mr. Bahadur said.
Entrance to the festival is free. Parking is available on West Campus and Main Campus. Kites, food and drink can be purchased at the festival. All current state and county health and safety protocols will be in place at the event.
Through a 2007 city council proclamation, April is officially recognized as Kite Month in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Kite Month is promoted in coordination with National April Kite Month – co-founded by the American Kite Flyers Association and the Kite Trade Association International.
For more information, visit our website at www.sbkitefest.net or call 805-637-6202. For more information on National Kite Month, visit www.nationalkitemonth.org and www.kite.org.
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