Berkeley Kite Festival draws thousands

BERKELEY, Calif. — Thousands of people from around the country gathered at the annual Berkeley Kite Festival this past weekend, some to fly kites, and some to watch, eat and play on the hills of the Berkeley Marina.

kite flying

Many over sized kites dominated the skies over the two-day festival, though those did not compete. Photo by Nitya Aggarwal

Dan Perez drove 32 miles from San Ramone with his young son, who proved to be more successful than Perez himself at kite-flying.

Cam Zhao drove 30 minutes with her kids to the festival.

“We tried and failed,” Zhao said when she couldn’t keep her kite up.

But she said they would definitely come back. They watched as others struggled, too, to keep their kites flying.

Lina and Diya Nihar, a mother-daughter duo, drove 20 minutes to see the festival, which they heard about on the news. This was their second time trying to get to the festival.

There was too much traffic the previous day, they said; about 35,000 people attended the two-day event, vying for parking spots along the marina and designated areas from which shuttle buses took people closer to the entrance area.

They’d just arrived after waiting an hour for parking, and while they weren’t planning the fly any kites, they couldn’t wait to see them.

Danata Aaron

Danata Aaron with her son and godson. It was her family’s first time at the festival, now in its 32nd year. Photo by Anika Bhavnani

Although there were dozens of food vendors selling hot dogs, chicken, grilled oysters, pork sandwiches and fresh cut fruit, Lina and Diya said they always worry about whether there will be vegetarian options.

Danata Aaron came from East Oakland with her child and godson. They said they had a lot of fun and participated in many different activities for kids, including the moon bounce.

Aaron thought she would come back next year. “Seeing him [her son] happy was the best part,” she said.