A veritable flurry of kites of all shapes, sizes and colours will take to the skies over Brighton and Hove as the Brighton Kite Festival comes to Stanmer Park for the 40th year.
There'll be plenty of chances not just to watch both world-class and home-spun flyers soar and weave during the many displays, but to join in the fun by flying your own kite at Brighton Kite Festival weekend of 7th and 8th July).
It's worth setting aside a whole day to enjoy the wide open spaces and stunning scenery of Stanmer Park, where arena displays will feature the Martin Lester Spirit kite fly, kite fighting, kites made in the children's workshop, and demonstrations by some of the world's best sport kite flyers.
Local blogger Bex, who went along to last year's festival with her husband and toddler twins, had this to say: "There were so many amazing big kites like the blue whale, batman and a giant penguin amongst all of the other kites being flown by proper kite enthusiasts and novices like us...
"We had enough to keep us entertained just sitting watching all the kites and attempting to fly our own but there were also kite making workshops for kids and a falconer with owls and birds of prey as well as a few tents selling kites and flags. It was such a colourful day!" You can read her full blog here.
So, bring a picnic or treat yourself to food and drink from the myriad stalls, and buy and try a kite while you are there. And the good news is entry to the festival is absolutely free, although donations are requested as you enter the car park. For more info, see our facebook page.
Win a free kite worth up to £50
Write an online review of last year's Kite Festival on thebestof Brighton and Hove for a chance to win a kite to take along to this year's Festival. Leave your review here* (Winner will be drawn from all review entries and announced ahead of the Festival. We also welcome your reviews of local businesses year-round, which can also be submitted here).
Kites through the ages
Kite-flying has been a passion around the world for centuries. It is thought that the first kites took off in 5th century China and were hand-fashioned from bamboo and brightly-coloured silk (and very soon after paper) with a silk string – a far cry from today's mostly shop-bought aerodynamic versions constructed from fibreglass, ultra-lightweight polyester and other sophisticated materials.
The classic rhomboid shape soon evolved into other ones, such as the box kite, the dragon kite and fighting kites, which are popular in across India and in Afghanistan (as described by Khaled Hosseini in his book 'The Kite Runner'), are controlled by two lines, and feature string studded with broken glass, in order to sever that of rivals.
Stunt kites, too, propel kite-flying into the realms of a sport, as their three or four strings enable them to make complicated moves, which can be judged against others. Call it a sport, call it a pastime, kite flying is a brilliant way to spend a summer's day.
Let’s go buy a kite
There will be opportunities to buy kites at the festival. However if you can't wait, Oddballs in North Laine sells rainbow-shaped ones, a make-your-own classic kit and a few others. It is also worth checking out Argos, which offers some low-cost fun shapes for the kids.
Fashion a flight of fancy
Alternatively, if you have time, making a kite is a great thing to do. Try Kites for Everyone: How to Make and Fly Them by Margaret Greger.
The sky’s the limit
And, if you love looking up (and down), check out these ideas:
Eastbourne Hot Air Balloon Festival - 29th and 30th July
Eastbourne Air Show - 16th to 19th August
South Downs Hang Gliding (for hang-gliding and paragliding lessons)
Airsports Sussex (tandem hang-gliding and paragliding experiences)
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