Kite Festival moves to new location for 65th installment
by Ethan Orenstein
Published - 02/22/13 - 01:44 PM | 7502 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Youngsters try out their kite creations during a previous Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival event.                                                                                                    Photo by Jim Grant I The Beacon
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The Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival will celebrate its 65th anniversary at Dusty Rhodes Park on Saturday, March 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The new location, located on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard at the corner of Nimitz Boulevard, is just one of a few changes during this festival, and event chair Melanie Nickel expects this year to be one of the best of its kind — ever.

“We’re doing a couple of things to make it bigger and better this year,” Nickel said. “This year, we’re getting much more of a kite emphasis. We’re having much more kite stuff for grown-ups, you could say.”

Along with kite building, carnival rides, food, a craft fair and live music by Beer Feet, the festival will also feature demonstrations and performances by kite professionals from the San Diego Kite Club and other Southern California kites clubs between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“For the stunt flying, they do coordinated dancing,” Nickel said. “They can make a kite dive to the ground, stop one foot off the ground and turn the other way.”

This year’s festival will also honor those who took part in the very first Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festivals between 1948 and 1953. Nickel said everybody who attended the first festivals should go to the registration area, where they will receive a special ribbon and be recognized as “founder alumni.”

“It’s the oldest kite festival for children in the country,” Nickel said. “We know there are people in Point Loma and Ocean Beach who came to the first festivals, and we want to honor them.”

Nickel said children of all ages can build and decorate kites with a new kite-building kit. Children can also enter a contest for the best-decorated kite at noon. Prizes will be awarded around 1 p.m., depending on how quickly the judges can examine all the kites.

“We normally make about 700 kites in the morning. The kids come from all over the elementary, junior high and senior high schools and outside the area,” Nickel said. “We normally have about 1,000 people sometime during the day.”

The festival is free, and the Kiwanis Club of Ocean Beach puts on the event in cooperation with the Ocean Beach Recreation Center.

Recreation center director Brian Anthony said he is looking forward to the event. His aunt owned a kite store and he enjoys flying kites.

“We’re really just looking forward to the 65th year, honoring a tradition in Ocean Beach,” Anthony said. “It will be great with more space over at Dusty Rhodes.”

Parking for the event is available at Dusty Rhodes Park on the Sunset Cliffs Boulevard side. Additional parking is located across the street at Robb Field.

“This is such a fun thing,” Nickel said. “I love a quote I overheard some people saying at one of the kite festivals, ‘It’s family, it’s fun and it’s free, what’s not to like?’”

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Schedule of events

• 9 a.m. to noon.: kite building

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: live music by Beer Feet

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: professional kite flying stunts, performance and demonstrations

• Noon to 1 p.m.: kite judging and prizes

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