This weekend, octopuses, dragons, and even the Minions from Despicable Me can be seen above Garry Point Park as the two-day Pacific Rim Kite Festival begins.
The festival has returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, just in time for summer to begin.
“This is our first time to be back together in an organized way that we could actually put on the festival,” said Cathie Jung, president of the British Columbia Kitefliers Association (BCKA).
Jung has been a part of the BCKA for 20 years, and she’s excited for the public to try out the hobby.
“It doesn’t require batteries or screens or any electronics – it’s just fun. You walk around, you meet people, and you try to engage them in the sport and the hobby that you love,” she explained.
Not only is the festival celebrating its 45th anniversary, it also marks the beginning of the 75th Steveston Salmon Festival. Although the parade has been axed from this year’s festivities, Richmondites can still catch the float at the kite festival.
“The city of Richmond invited us to partner with them because they thought we were a good fit – colourful skies. Garry Point Park is our home kite field... This is where we fly, and this is where we have Fun Flies every other month,” Jung told the Richmond News.
“Come fly with us!”
The public is welcome to bring their own kites or visit one of the two Kite Making Workshop tents to build and colour their own sled kites. Fees for the activity are by donation, and the workshops are taught by volunteers from FunforGOal Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to connect youths with local communities through volunteering.
"On festival days, look out onto the field and you will see commercial and hand-built kites of varying sizes from a simple diamond kite to a 30-foot rainow bowl, hand-painted Japanese Rokkaku, and Indian fighter kites," Jung said.
The festival will also feature kiteflying demonstrations such as “kite ballet,” where kitefliers “[fly] two kites, or three kites to music doing a little routine… Kind of like synchronized swimming,” according to Jung.
There is no set schedule for these demonstrations because it depends on the wind, she told the Richmond News. But BKFA members will be popping in throughout the day to ensure there is always something going on in the sky.
"We're going with the wind... and the weather!" said Jung.
For first-timers or amateurs, Jung has one tip: don’t run with your kite.
“Typically, kids and adults want to run with your kite. You know, Charlie Brown ran with his kite, and it got snarled in the tree, right?... You just need to gently let out a little bit of line, a little bit more,” she said.
Jung also cautioned participants to be mindful of their space.
“Sometimes we might be flying these kites that are very powerful – the line is 130 feet. And they’re powerful because of the wind – sometimes we have to put a tail on them to slow them down.
“So if they came down on you, it could be a sticky situation,” she explained.
The second and last day of the Pacific Rim Kite Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow on Sunday, June 26.
“Come fly with us!” said Jung.