The 43rd Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival Celebrates the Environment by Going Green

February 26, 2009
News Release
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The 43rd Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival will be held Saturday, March 28, on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain date: March 29). This free, public event organized by The Smithsonian Associates and the National Air and Space Museum features kite displays, demonstrations and handmade kite competitions.

This year’s festival will explore how using natural resources can be a fun and fulfilling experience. Participants are encouraged to create environmentally and thematically “green” kites from renewable resources such as bamboo and recyclable goods such as paper and cloth. Elements of this year’s festivities include kite making activities for kids, special guest kite makers and kite flyers from Switzerland and the Czech Republic, kite trick demonstrations by Revolution Kites and several sponsored activity tents focused on the concept of “green.” Among other presenters, the West Indian American Kiters Association and Tobago Flying Colours will demonstrate how to make kites with recycled material, the Embassy of Sweden will present a living green exhibit and the Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program will educate spectators about wind power.

Featured every year is the handmade kite competition in which awards are given in categories for children, adults and master kite makers. Kites must be created by the participant and capable of flying at a minimum of 100 feet for at least one minute and will be judged on design, appearance, construction and performance. A special award is given for the kite that best interprets the festival theme. Teams may also compete in two exciting events: the traditional Rokkaku Challenge, in which flyers attempt to bring down their opponents’ kites, and the Smithsonian Hot Tricks Showdown, which allows kite flyers to demonstrate their skills with trick kite moves. Registration for all competitions will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Children and adults are welcome to fly noncompetition kites throughout the day. While participants are encouraged to bring their own kites, 1,000 free kites will be distributed to children on a first come, first served basis.

The 43rd Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival is sponsored by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Embassy of Sweden and Family Magazine.

Founded by aviation pioneer Paul E. Garber (1899-1992), the Smithsonian Kite Festival features kite fliers from across the United States and around the world. The festival will take place on the grounds of the Washington Monument at 15th Street and Independence Avenue and is accessible from the Smithsonian or Federal Triangle Metro stations or Metrobus routes 30, 32, 34, 35 and 36. For more information, visit or call (202) 633-3030.

Schedule of Events

10 a.m.
Opening ceremony; registration begins
10:15 a.m.
Kite maker/master kite maker competition begins
Kite maker/master kite maker competition breaks; children’s competition begins
12:30 p.m.
Registration ends
1 p.m.
Children’s competition ends; children’s award ceremony; kite maker/master kite maker competition resumes
2 p.m.
Competition is completed; Hot Tricks Showdown
3 p.m.
Rokkaku Challenge and kite maker/master kite maker awards ceremony begins

The Smithsonian Associates provides educational and cultural programs that highlight and complement the work of the Smithsonian Institution through a wide variety of formats including performances, lectures, courses, workshops and special events on the National Mall and across the country. Each year The Smithsonian Associates creates and presents nearly 1,000 educational and cultural events. For information, call (202) 633-3030 or visit

The Smithsonian Kite Festival is also one of the opening events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual two-week, citywide event featuring daily cultural performances, arts & crafts, exhibit/demonstrations, sporting events, international cuisine and other special events. The 2009 Festival will be held March 28–April 12, with the Parade on April 4. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 97th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the citizens of the United States and Japan. For information, visit

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