By Taylor Sloan
(Sept. 19, 2014) The Sunfest Kite Festival, hosted by the Kite Loft, kicked off Thursday and will continue through Sunday on the Boardwalk and beach at Sixth Street.
The festival draws thousands of visitors to the Ocean City Boardwalk and beach, according to Jay Knerr, owner of the Kite Loft.
“What really attracts people is the giant kites,” he said.
This year, two featured kites are “Toothless,” a dragon character from the animated children’s feature, “How to Train Your Dragon,” and Mell, a 100 foot giant blue whale. Jeff and Joyce King of Annapolis will fly these kites.
Several activities for children and adults are taking place during the festival. These include kite flying, kite games, candy drops, quad kite demonstrations; four line kites flown in formation, and bol races. Bol races consist of a small parachute tied to the back of a person. These races are between three or four children, and they are also held between children and their parents. Small prizes will be awarded to the winners.
On Saturday there will be a Kids Kite Fly event at 1 p.m. on the beach. Families are encouraged to arrive at 12:30 p.m. The first 60 children who participate will receive a free kite; the only requirement is that the children fly their kites, wind permitting.
“I like the kids events most,” said Mike Van Meers, coordinator of the kite festival since 1997. “There is a dance event for different age groups, and Boardwalk spectators are the judges. It’s a lot of fun.”
Also taking place during the weekend are mass ascensions. Each day, several kites will be launched into the air at one time. Kite flyers and the public are all encouraged to participate in these mass ascensions, which will take place throughout the four-day festival.
“Kite flying is something people have always enjoyed,” Knerr said.
For more information, call the Kite Loft at 410-289-7855 or visit www.kiteloft.com.