International festival is here so let’s go fly a kite

Last year's International Kite Festival was a sight to behold

Last year's International Kite Festival was a sight to behold

Stuart Piper with his wife Debbie and children Megan, 10, and 12-year-old Abigail  Picture: Sarah Standing (170385-8300)

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Have you ever seen a flying snake? What about a soaring frog? A sky-high whale? Or a floating jester?

No? Well, you can this weekend when the skies above Southsea Common will be filled with unusual objects, including characters from The Simpsons.

It’s the 20th Portsmouth International Kite Festival and that means some rather unusual sights for Southsea residents and visitors.

High flyers from across the globe will gather for the event, recently listed as one of the 23 biggest kite festivals in the world.

Participants from as far as Singapore, India, New Zealand and America – as well as across Europe – will be coming together from 10am to 5pm tomorrow and Sunday to take part in the annual spectacular.

Then, on bank holiday Monday there will be free-flying and a dog show.

One of the highlights of this year’s event will be a UK record attempt to get the most revolution kites flying in a synchronised formation. To break the record, at least 50 must be doing the choreographed routine at the same time.

On top of this, kite flyers will be putting on entertaining and skilled demonstrations with technically impressive and visually stunning kites.

There will be beautiful single line kites (intricately appliquéd or painted with magnificent designs), amazing cellular kites (flying miracles of structural engineering), awe-inspiring 3D soft kites in a magical range of shapes and sizes, and professional kites performing excellent tricks and routines to music.

There will be scheduled arena events between 10am and 5pm and free flying throughout the event.

Alongside the kites, there will be a craft tent, free children’s kite workshop and a fun fair with local amusements. There will also be traders selling a wide range of fun and powerful kites. Plus a variety of refreshments will be on offer.

The free event is organised by Portsmouth City Council and The Kite Society of Great Britain.

Heather Todd, assistant events manager at the council, says: ‘The festival is in a marvellous setting on Southsea Common – overlooking the Solent and with wide open spaces and good winds which shows off the kites and our city at their very best.

‘It’s a very popular event every year and it’s easy to see why. The spectacular displays and enormous array of kites are a real spectacle.’

For more information, see portsmouthkitefestival.org.uk, or call (023) 9282 6722.

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