Portsmouth kite festival flies on despite windy weather grounding first day of displays

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IT WAS easy to be blown away at Southsea Common this Sunday – as more than 50 giant kites took advantage of the windy weather to fly in the Portsmouth International Kite Festival.

More than 6,000 people made the most of the one day festival, after its Saturday displays were cancelled due to strong winds. 

But Jon Bloom, Co-President of the Kite Society of Great Britain, was not feeling under the weather, saying the annual festival was continuing to attract new kite enthusiasts every year. 

He said: ‘We’re in our 28th year, and this year more than half of the kites flying are new. 

‘We have had kites from Holland, Germany, Italy, India, Dubai, and the USA .

‘So we’re still able to give people something different each year.’

Bernhard Dingwerth brought two kites he had made himself, a 52ft crocodile and a 15ft clown fish, all the way from Germany. 

He said: ‘I come here every year – I have been making kites for more than 20 years, and I have been coming here for about ten years. 

‘I love the festival, the people are always really friendly.

Some of the kites on display cost hundreds of pounds, with Kent Kite Flyers flying an 8ft penguin costing more than £600. 

Laura Hemsley, a 19-year old member of the society, said: ‘We’ve come down with a dragon, an astronaut, and two penguins. 

‘Lots of the public love them.’ 

The free festival saw an area for large static kites, which flew all day whilst tethered to the ground, and an area for kite flying demonstrations. 

Gusts of 50mph meant there were no stalls and gazebos from traders at the event, due ‘saftey concerns’ raised by Portsmouth City Council.

Amy Tilt, an event and sponsorship manager at the council, said: ‘We usually have huts and gazebos selling kites at the festival, but unfortunately we couldn’t have them on site – it would have been too dangerous with the strong winds.

‘We were still able to have food vans on site.’ 

The Kite Society of Great Britain plans to return next year for a full two day festival.