Fly like the wind to kite fest

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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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The skies above Southsea Common will be filled with some weird and wonderful sights as the Portsmouth International Kite Festival kicks off its 23rd year.

More than 100 kite flyers from around the world, including Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium and Italy, will appear at the free event to put on their best displays.

They can be seen in scheduled arena events from 10am – 5pm and in free flying throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Watch out for the kite ballet set to music and Oscar, the world’s largest Teddy Bear kite at more than 90ft long.

Oscar and his companions will share the skies with original and replica kites from the late 19th and early 20th century, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Specialist kite makers from the UK will also be displaying the pieces up close in an exhibition area, which includes photographs of kite flyers on the common dating from the 1900s.

The free event, jointly organised by The Kite Society of Great Britain and Portsmouth City Council, is recognised as one of the best in the world.

‘We have some wonderful new flyers and makers coming to the festival this year, and we are so excited to bring back some of our favourites from the past,’ says festival organiser Gill Bloom.

‘With Victorious Festival on the common as well, we hope people will chill out with us when they need a break from listening to music.

‘It will introduce kite-flying to a much bigger crowd.’

Alongside the flying displays there will be a host of other activities to keep the family entertained.

These include a craft tent, a children’s kite workshop and an on-site funfair.

If the festival inspires you to get involved, traders will be selling a wide range of kites, from colourful branded ones for children to large power kites for the adventurous.

A feast for all the senses, a Wind Gallery featuring wind-powered instruments will provide the soundtrack to the weekend. On-site food stalls are available and will make sure you do not miss the aerial action.

The Portsmouth International Kite Festival comes to Southsea Common from tomorrow until Monday, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

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