Grab a tissue, local DC-tonians, if it is not already evident, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, and this weekend is the kickoff of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This can be a stressful time of year for locals, at least until the festival’s end on April 10, as both tourists and allergies instantly appear to clog the streets, cafes, the Metro and your nose. There is nothing short of 100 (mostly free) things to do during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, ranging from free, daily concerts at the Washington Monument grounds to street theater, parades and more, but the Blossom Kite Festival, this Saturday, March 26, is a totally new thrill.
The Blossom Kite Festival will not only showcase the art of kite making, the skill of kite fighting, and show us a few kite tricks — there will be several competitions as well as kite-building activity stations. Basically, they are dividing up the Washington Monument grounds into five areas: the Competition Field, Demonstration Field, Kite Display Area, Activity Tents and Public Field.
Some highlights of the Kite Festival include “The Hot Tricks Showdown,” a competition in which kite fliers engage in a series of one-on-one competitions to music. (Winners are selected by audience applause.) Kite fighting with Rokkaku kites (hexagonal shaped fighter kites); in a Rokkaku Battle, teams of kite fliers compete to “cut” or “ground” opposing kites.
There will be a Kite Maker Competition of hand-crafted kites with the suggested theme of “Spring” and naturally, blossom-inspired kites. Competitors have to fly their own kite. The competition is divided into youth (ages 11 and under) and ages 12-15, and then adults (ages 16 and above). For both youth categories, there will be a first, second and third place award. For the adult category, there will be a Theme Award, People’s Choice Award and a Grand Prize.
Note: To fly a kite in the Kite Maker Competition, the Rokkaku Battle or the Hot Tricks Showdown, kite makers, kite fliers and kite clubs have to register first at the Registration Tent on the day of the event. Registration for each competition will remain open until the competition begins.
And of course, you can always just bring your own kite, your dog, your friends and a picnic, and fly it with others on the Public Field.
Blossom Kite Festival Schedule (of course, this is weather and especially, wind permitting!)
10:00 AM Opening remarks; Registration begins
10:15 AM – 12:00 PM Kite Ballets & Demonstrations
12:00 – 1:00 PM Youth Kite Makers Competition
1:00 – 2:00 PM Kite Ballets & Demonstrations
10:15 AM – 1:00 PM Kite Makers Showcase (Hand-made kites only)
1:00 – 2:00 PM Kite Makers Competition
2:00 – 3:00 PM Hot Tricks Showdown
3:00 – 4:00 PM Rokkaku Battle
You don’t have to be a kite-nut to appreciate this event. For more details about all the things you can do at the National Cherry Blossom Festival visit here.
Blossom Kite Festival
Time: 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Washington Monument grounds – Constitution Avenue & 17th Street, NW