Kites and spirits soar at the 28th annual Berkeley Kite Festival

berkeley kite festival
Sarah Branoff/Staff

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If you happened to look oceanward from a Berkeley rooftop at some point yesterday afternoon, chances are, you noticed something strange on the horizon. If you dared to venture over to the Berkeley Marina, your puzzlement likely grew — no, you were not hallucinating. Yes, those actually were gigantic octopus-shaped kites flying hundreds of feet in the air. No, we’re not kidding.

The 28th annual Berkeley Kite Festival, hosted by Highline Kites, is being held at Cesar Chavez Park at the marina this weekend, attracting thousands of people from around the Bay Area. That means that if you didn’t get a chance to attend on Saturday, you can have your go today! Yesterday’s windy, overcast weather wasn’t exactly conducive to the sunny Saturday that was hoped for but it was pretty darn conducive to flying a kite. (It doesn’t look to be a sunny Sunday either, so be sure to bring a jacket and blanket.) People of all ages scattered across the park, flying kites in the form of dragons, beavers, spinning squares, giant Finding Nemo fish and (our personal favorite) Cal flags. Obviously, the Cal kite sailed high above the rest. Literally. The options for activities at the Kite Fest are endless: Not only can you marvel at the World’s Largest Octopus Kite, but you can buy kites, fly kites, compete with your kites, make kites … KITES. You can even watch kite ballet. (Watch this footage from the 2007 Kite Fest and prepare for your mind to be blown.)

If the physical act of flying kites doesn’t appeal to you, maybe the free samples at food trucks, live music and pure comedy of watching grown men throw their entire bodies into lifting a thin piece of plastic a few feet in the air, only to have it come crashing down, will. Cal student Cam Zachary says that the sky full of colorful and unique kites “brightened a cloudy day” and that it was “truly a rare spectacle for Berkeley.” Events like these remind us just how much fun it is to channel your inner kid and how necessary it is to take a break from the bubble that is the Berkeley campus. So get over to the Berkeley Marina between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. today and attempt to get your own kite up off the ground. Trust us — it’s a lot more fun when the greatly helpful windy weather has your back.

If your interest has been piqued, check out this link for today’s schedule of events!

Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]

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