By Makeida Antonio
Thousands of people flocked to Devil’s Bridge to participate in the return of the annual Kite Flying Festival yesterday.
This event has been considered an Easter tradition for many families across Antigua for the last 17 years, and people of all ages, from gleeful, energetic children to adults who wish to remain children at heart, took in the sight of kites in the sky – kites of varying colours, shapes and sizes.
Promoter of the event, Calvin Pilgrim, told Observer that yesterday’s turnout was a massive show of support by residents. He said that he witnessed several generations in their own bubble enjoying the highly regarded family affair.
Pilgrim remarked that despite a mix of traditional and store-bought kites in the air, he believed that people enjoyed watching their children participate in the fun kite activities at the event.
One of the event’s organisers, Mitzi Allen, told Observer that the event began at 9 in the morning and concluded at 5 in the evening after the popular kite flying competition concluded. Allen added that high winds did not serve as a deterrent to people coming to enjoy the festival.
There were several categories in the kite flying competition with Corporate Kite winner – Patty Delight, Pro Kite winner – Donaldson Lee, Amateur Kite winner – Laura Liburd and Smallest Kite – a tie between Zeegor Meade and David Nelson making superb showings.
Mark Dehary won the Show Kite or People’s Choice category.
Cash prizes were given by the Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda which was also instrumental in marketing, promotions and T-shirts. Cash prizes were between $150-$250.
US-based kite flying group ‘Wings Over Washington’ member, Jim Cosca, was one of the head judges in the festival’s kite competition.
Cosca is a professional kiter who has been paid to fly kites in movies such as Night at the Museum 2.
He has flown overseas to fly kites and judge competitions.
He based his criteria on originality, design, flight ability and materials used to assemble the kites, including traditional material such as bamboo and tissue, and materials often found in modern kites including wrapping paper, nylon and carbon.
Additionally, Cosca recommended that those who wish to make kites use available resources such as reviewing kite history and various online tutorials.
Meanwhile, an organiser of the event shared a desire to see more traditionally made kites return to the festival in the future.