This July, hope for a stiff breeze in Stanmer Park in Brighton for the annual Brighton Kite Festival. 2012 is the 33rd incarnation of the event and will see kite flyers from all over the country gather together to demonstrate their skills.
The festival is held on the 7th and 8th of July and will include kite flights by individual stunt flyers; syncronised group displays with performances from Close Encounters, Team Evolver, Brighton Kite Flyers and Team Spectrum; an Eddy kite fly with traditional diamond-shaped kites of various sizes; the annual Martin Lester Spirit kite fly; and some highly anticipated Indian and Rokkaku kite fighting. Rokkaku daku are Japanese six-sided kites made of bamboo and washi paper. Fighters aim to sever their opponent’s kite line and knock their kite out of the air.
For those who don’t own a kite, the Brighton Kite Festival will attract plenty of kite traders and will also have children’s workshops for younger visitors to design their own. It runs from 11a.m. until 5p.m. and is completely free to attend, though there will be a small donation for car parking at the rear of the park.
Stanmer Park is located to the west of the University of Sussex, north-east of Brighton. If you’re planning to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of nearby hotels in Brighton you can stay in. Stanmer Park also is home to one of the UK’s only Earthships—a solar powered house made of natural and recycled materials—and the beautiful Stanmer Church.
The kite is thought to have originated in China around 2,800 years ago. In the past, they served serious military purposes including signaling, delivering munitions, and lifting observers high into the air to observe battlefields. A kite was also used by Benjamin Franklin to demonstrate the electrical power of lightning and both the Wright brothers and Alexander Graham Bell experimented with using large kites as forms of aircraft.
Kites play a large role in many festivals all over the world, from the Makar Sankranti festival—which sees millions of kites take to the skies over northern India—to the kites flown in Greece on Clean Monday to symbolise the first day of Lent. The capital of kites, however, is undoubtedly Weifang in China. It is home to a kite museum with 8100 square metres of kites and the city hosted the first ever international kite festival in 1984, which attracted over 10,000 kite fans.
Although the Brighton Kite Festival isn’t quite to this scale yet, there will still be plenty to see and do. As the longest running kite festival in the UK, it will provide the perfect opportunity for you to discover some flights of fancy blowing in the wind.
Jesse Wallace writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.