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Md. International Kite Expo kicks off today in resort

(April 25, 2014) Ocean City’s sky will fill with color this weekend as thousands return for the 20th annual Maryland International Kite Expo, a free event on the beach from Second to Sixth streets.

A life-sized blue whale flies among other giant kites at the 2013 Maryland International Kite Expo. The whale and other astounding kites will fill the sky again at this year’s expo, taking place today through Sunday on the beach between Second and Sixth streets. (Photo courtesy of the Kite Loft)

Events kick off today and continue through Sunday with stunt teams, kite demos and kites as large as a city bus filling Ocean City’s skies, said Kite Loft Owner Jay Knerr.

“Spectators will experience the thrill of watching sport kite demonstrations and get the opportunity to meet the greatest kite flyers in the world,” Knerr said. “Visitors will understand why Ocean City is the kite capital of the world.”

Riding on the coattails of National Kite Month in April, the festival is an offshoot of autumn’s Sunfest Kite Festival in Ocean City.

“A lot of our customers were asking for more, so we saw the need to do a springtime event,” Knerr said.

Stunt teams — what he called “the Thunderbirds of the kiting world” — will perform acrobatic maneuvers to music each day of the festival. Kite clubs from the East Coast and beyond will showcase their kites with air and ground displays every day on the beach.

At Fourth Street, kite aficionados will show off their larger-than-life creations, with giant alligators, sea horses, blue whales and flying pigs soaring above the beach.

“Pretty much any shape you can imagine will be up there,” Knerr said. “It’s always exciting to see because most people have never, ever in their lifetimes seen kites of this size flying.”

The Mid-Atlantic Sport Kite Championships return this year, with almost 500 skilled flyers from around the region, the West Coast and Canada competing on two- and four-lined kites. They will battle in precision maneuver competitions, cutting shapes in the sky with their kites, and in “ballet” events where they fly choreographed routines to music.

Keep an eye out for candy drops, which give children a chance to scramble for wrapped candy dropped from a kite flying above, throughout the festival.

There will be music at the Kite Loft on Fifth Street and the Boardwalk throughout the weekend and the store will offer free lessons on how to fly kites and sport kites on the beach Saturday and Sunday.

“We always encourage the general public to come down and bring their kites and enjoy the day with us,” Knerr said.

Maryland International Kite Expo events start each morning, today through Sunday, at 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. There will be some nighttime events with light-laden kites lighting up the sky, Knerr said.

The expo runs rain or shine.

The Maryland International Kite Expo is sponsored by the Town of Ocean City, Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, The Shoreham Hotel, Alaska Stand and The Kite Loft.

Call The Kite Loft at 410-289-7855 or visit www.kiteloft.com for more information.

Clara Vaughn, Ocean City Todayhttps://www.oceancity.com/OceanCityToday
Clara discovered journalism as a freelance reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Eastern Shore News, in 2008. She spent her summers reporting from the courtroom to the marsh as a general assignment reporter for the News while finishing her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. In 2011, she earned a Virginia Press Association Award for her health, science and environment writing package. After a stint in press relations, Clara returned to school, earning a Master of Journalism degree from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism in 2012. She traveled overseas and landed as a reporter and copy editor at Ocean City Today in May of 2013.

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