Portsmouth International Kite Festival celebrates 25th anniversary
THOUSANDS of people flocked to Southsea Common to witness some of the world's best kites flying high across the skies.
Portmouth International Kite festival celebrated its 25th anniversary and, as ever, the event was hugely popular.
Brenda Critchell said: ‘It is brilliant.
‘We come every year and there’s more kites than last year.’
Belinda Chambers said: ‘We’ve missed the last few years but it is a great event.’
Inflatable Batman, Superman and Aladdin designs were just three of many incredible kites that soared in the air overlooking the Solent.
Jon Bloom, who helped organise the event, said: ‘The kites here today have come on leaps and bounds since we started 25 years ago as they just used to be stick kites.
‘This is the biggest kite festival in the UK and we attract flyers from all over the world to come and perform.
‘Conditions are perfect today for flying. Despite popular belief, you do not want it too windy and it’s still sunny enough for people to come out and enjoy the day.’
Around 8,000 people were estimated to have attended the event and organisers were relieved all went smoothly.
Heather Todd, assistant events manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘A lot of planning in advance goes into creating the event.
‘You have a plan in your head, so it’s good to see everything come together.
‘It has always been popular and it’s a free event.
‘There’s a free kite-making workshop for children and then they practice flying them afterwards.’
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, said: ‘This is a fantastic free event and everyone has been saying how well organised it is.
‘It’s also benefiting a lot of local charities, who have their stalls set up.’
Robert van Weers travelled all the way from New Zealand to perform.
He said: ‘This is the 15th year I have come here and it always gets a fantastic turn out.
‘I started flying kites in 1983 when seeing a festival in Amsterdam. I built a kit I bought and have been flying ever since. Life is about living and travelling to fly kites lets me – and I’m performing at a festival in Malaysia on my way home.’