Sky’s the limit

Jasmin Sun

Regardless of age, many Austin residents remembered what it was like to be a kid again Sunday.

Despite traffic congestion around the area and a lack of parking spaces, thousands of adults and children filed into Zilker Park for a day filled with kite flying at the 83rd annual Zilker Park Kite Festival.

“About 10,000 to 20,000 people came out today,” said festival co-chair Bunnie Twidwell. “In fact, more people are here today than were in Austin when the kite festival began.“

The event began with “ballets,” an activity allowing participants to fly their kites to music playing throughout the park. The day’s kite contests started at 1 p.m., with events ranging from “Steadiest Kite” to “Most Unusual Kite.” Each category accepted entries from both youths and adults.

The Exchange Club of Austin originally created the festival in 1929 to give children a constructive activity the community could participate in. While the number of adults today may not outnumber the amount of children at the festival, they certainly are much more enthusiastic, said Warren Harris, a 12-year kite festival volunteer.

Austin resident Richard Robertson, the day’s winner in the “Oldest Kite” category, has been attending the yearly event for almost half a century. He is 83 years old.

“Three generations of my family have been coming to the kite festival,” Robertson said. “I love kites. We have about 200 of them [at home].”

While the numbers of the participants have changed through the years, the event’s foundations have remained the same.

“[Kites are] magic,” Twidwell said. “It’s the best blend of art and engineering you can find. That and you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you get your kite off the ground.”