Raise your eyes skywards in Gozo this weekend and you’ll see our blue azure skies filled with the most joyous, colourful fluttering kites showcasing traditional and distinctive designs from all over the world as Gozo’s International Kite and Wind Festival returns for its second year!
Last year’s launch event was a huge success, with hundreds of families flocking to Gozo’s western coast to witness amazing aerial displays and to try out kite-flying for themselves.
This year’s ‘International Kite and Wind Festival’ (from 18th – 20th October, 2019) promises to be bigger and better, with a weekend of action-packed family-focused free activity, based around San Dimitri, on the outskirts of Għarb.
But did you know kites have actually been around for thousands of years? Historians are undecided over who invented the first kite. It is thought that Kites originated out of Asia, with China being the possible country of origin. This is because the Chinese had materials such as bamboo for a sturdy, yet lightweight frame, silk strings for a flying line and silk fabric for a sail. Throughout the centuries, the purpose of kites evolved, they were used in warfare for signaling, marking delivery of munitions and for observation. Fast forward to today and their diverse use also includes harnessing wind to empower unique adventure sports!
Yet, the simple joy of kite-flying is a liberating experience. Spending time in the open air, feeling the wind in your hair, watching a kite you’ve held in your hands climb up to the skies, punctuating the blue as you battle the elements, twisting and turning its strings to keep it airborne for as long as possible.
It really is thrilling and if you’ve not experienced kite-flying, you must because it’s surely one of life’s simple pleasures. In fact, the aim of this ‘International Kite and Wind Festival is to rekindle the tradition of making and flying kites, which has deep roots in Gozo. What’s more, our warm and breezy autumnal conditions provide just the right formula for kite-flying against a perfect blue sky.
The International Kite and Wind Festival’s jam-packed schedule of daytime and night-time events, starts on Friday 18th October and runs throughout the weekend until the evening of Sunday 20th October.
If you like getting busy with glue, paper and scissors then why not book you and your youngsters onto one of the festivals kite-making workshops, where you can master the art of kite-building, before flying your hand-made masterpiece. If you are more of spectator, don’t worry there’s still plenty to thrill at watching characterful and traditional kites (and even some popular TV and film characters) filling our skies as they become airborne, with grand masters at work piloting them.
This year’s event is a truly global affair, with more than 20 international teams flying traditional and state of the art kites; from Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Thailand, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Japan, Italy, India, Brazil, Argentina, Malaysia and Poland all competing against each other to put on the most bombastic, breezy, synchronized aerial show.
The weekend festival event is a must for families. Friday evening’s opening parade showcases the international kite masters and is followed with live entertainment and food in Għarb Square. On Saturday evening there will be kites, then later synchronized fireworks and an open air BBQ. Then on Sunday afternoon and evening the festival culminates with a traditional San Dimitri event – a band procession and the highly anticipated closing bonfire.
David Apap, Mayor of Gharb says: “We are so excited about this year’s event because we are sure it will reach its aim in attracting more and more people, including young children to this historical old hobby of kite flying”.
Watch a video taken at last year’s event.
Check out the amazing programme of events happening throughout the festival here:
With thanks to David Apap, Kjell Eriksson, jjpzammit, Terry Camilleri and Hermaron88.