Weather conditions at Zilker Kite Festival affect vendors, would-be kite flyers

Vinesh Kovelamudi

Despite poor weather conditions and low turnout, the sky was still dotted with kites at the 86th annual ABC Zilker Kite Festival on Sunday.  

The attendees who braved the cold and humidity flew their kites in the weather, which hovered in the high 30’s and low 40’s. But finance senior James Gu said he was less able to fully participate in the festival activities than he had hoped.

“Since we felt like we had to put our hands in our pockets about every five minutes just to stay warm, we didn’t fly our kites around the park as much,” Gu said.

The cold and rainy weather conditions affected the number of people who went to Zilker Park to attend the festival and reduced the amount of projected customers for vendors stationed around the park, according to Isaac Guzman, an employee of the Mighty Bird food truck.

“I expected more people, but because of the weather and the fact that it’s been raining the past few days, the turnout isn’t as good,” Guzman said.

Business sophomore Jai Ugra attended the festival to sell water bottles to fundraise for a benefit concert. Ugra said he would have been more successful in his attempts to raise money if the weather had been better. 

“I think the weather was a huge factor that affected our water sales,” Ugra said. “If it was 65 [or more degrees], then I’m positive we could have run out of water bottles, but it was barely breaking 40 degrees, which really hurt us.”

A few vendors were less adversely affected by the cold conditions, because attendees attempted to stay warm.

Maggie Porcher, co-owner of Wanderlust Coffee, said the colder weather attracted more people to her tent than to other tents.  

“If there were 20,000 people out here, obviously that would probably help us, but the cold weather hasn’t hurt us as much as others,” Porcher said.

The ABC Zilker Kite Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of March. Last year, the festival was moved from March 2 to the “rain date” of March 9, but the festival still ended up being canceled due to inclement weather.

Although last year’s festival was canceled as a result of the weather conditions, Ugra said this year’s festival should also have been postponed.

“I respect the tradition of keeping it on the first weekend of March, but I would have changed the date for a larger turnout,” said Ugra.