Arts & Crafts / Be Adventurous! / Be Creative! / Sports & Recreation

Revisiting the Zilker Kite Fest

A Kite Eating Tree, the morning after the 2012 Austin Kite Festival.

NOTE: This beautiful morning found me walking with Freida and my compadre Adrienne across the great lawn at Zilker Park, the day after this year’s 84th Annual Kite Festival. Here’s a picture of a kite-eating tree snapped this morning. It also seemed like a lovely opportunity to repost last year’s (mis)adventures in building and flying my own kites for this festival, and the post below first appeared on March 9, 2011.


I remember flying a kite a few times as a girl. There was a great field and dirt mounds a few blocks from my house, and I spent more than a few afternoons there after school, flying kites, looking for rocks, and generally just hanging out by myself.

So I’ve flown a kite, but I’ve actually never made one, until now.


2011 Austin Kite Festival

Yep, for the Aerospace badge, scouts have to make a kite, and this past weekend was Austin’s 83rd annual Zilker Kite Festival, so it seemed like a good time to try my hand at it. And for the Outdoors in the City badge, scouts get to practice flying a kite and locate an expert to learn more.

This is the country’s oldest continuous kite festival, dating back to 1929 with an original mission of encouraging creativity in children. It moved to its current location when Zilker Park opened in 1936. Twenty years later, this children’s event was opened to kids of all ages. And now, it may be the city’s best family-friendly, pet-loving harbinger of spring. Here’s some footage from the day:

So what about tracking down those kite experts and getting a demonstration?  Well, the festival has a kite-making workshop and even a kite “hospital”, but I didn’t see any expert demonstrations.  Contests abound — largest and smallest kites… oldest and youngest kite flyers… most unusual kites… strongest pulling kites…steadiest kites… highest angle kites… and, the famed 50 yard dash for kids.

But no expert demonstrations as far as I could see. So in the spirit of the task for Outdoors in the City, I’m still holding out for meeting a pro and getting some pointers. But til then, I’ve turned to YouTube to find some great demonstrations. (In fact, if you search YouTube for “how to fly a kite” you get over 5,000 hits.)

For any of you who’d like to see how it’s done, here’s a basic lesson:

And now STUNT KITING at its finest. Let’s start solo:

And now synchronized–this is amazing!


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