This kite festival is really quite unique, and that has a lot to do
with its geographical location. Not only does the festival overlook an
enormous waterfall system, but it actually spans 2 countries, the U.S.
The organizers for the 2007 event have their work cut out for them, contending with...
- multiple venues
- two Parks Departments
- three Mayors
- the Bridge Authority
- Canadian Customs and Immigration
- USA Homeland Security
- private businesses
Whew, uniqueness sure comes at a price! Unlike most
International kite festivals, this one doesn't have a long un-broken
history of annual events. However, the 2006 kite festival went so well that the organizers have said they want to keep it happening year after year.
When the weather's good and you have the time, it's great to get out with a kite or 3. But what about on bad weather days? Then it's time to pull out...
"Kites Up!" - my downloadable kite-flying board game! Apart from towing indoor kites, doing a spot of imaginary flying is the next best thing :-)
This next list tries to summarize everything, well most, of what
will take place over the 4 days the 2007 Niagara Kite Festival will
- the flying of a very wide range of kites by hundreds of flyers
- a kite arch tethered to the U.S. on one end, and to Canada on the other
- a historical re-enactment of the first kite to cross the gorge
- large wind-driven works of art that are anchored to the ground
- international guests bringing their kiting expertise
- demonstrations of kite-powered sports
- exhibitions of other kite-related activities
- a great variety of street entertainment, not all kite-related
- thousands of spectators, both locals and from around the world
STOP PRESS: On visiting the gorgeously presented official
website in June 2009, I found that this Kite Festival is no more!
'Cancelled' - just like that, for ever. Oh well, it was good while it
The Niagara Kite Festival In Detail
The hundreds of fliers during the festival will include many
who have registered themselves for the chance to fly their own kites off
the Niagara escarpment. Not an opportunity that comes up every day! The
area available will be from the Rainbow Bridge to Terrapin Point on the
US side and Table Rock on the Canadian side.
Kites near the falls.
Kites near the falls.
The range of kites flown, apart from the usual assortment of deltas and ram-air designs, will include the following...
- works of art
- stunters, dual and quad-line
- indoor flyers
- simply huge!
On that last point, one of the world's biggest kites will be
on display. Noted kite designer Peter Lynn has had these massive
flexible kites made for 3 customers. One of those customers is Masaaki
Modegi of Tokyo, Japan, who has named his kite Mega Moon. Masaaki
and his team are going to fly this Olympic swimming pool sized kite at
the Niagara Kite Festival 2007. All that material weighs about 200 kg
(over 400 pounds)!
A kite arch is quite a spectacular structure in its own right.
However, when it connects 2 countries during the Niagara Kite Festival,
it will also be meant as a sign of peace and unity. The 2007 kite arch
will, weather permitting, be flown by Iqbal Husain of Switzerland. This
arch consists of many beautifully handcrafted diamond kites.
The historical re-enactment is based on the Homan Walsh kite
contest which occurred in 1848. The authorities needed to build a
suspension bridge across the Niagara gorge. In order to get a line
across the water as a first step, they organized a kite-flying
competition. A 15 year old boy managed to be the first to drape a line
across, at the narrowest part of the gorge. For his efforts, he won 10
dollars, which was a significant amount of money back then.
This time around, there will be a whole lot more people trying to
land their kite on the far side of the gorge. In teams of 3 or more,
some will be flying on the Canadian side, and some on U.S. soil. For
those who want to, it will be possible to fly from the location of the
We've mentioned the Mega Moon kite man from Japan. Here's a list of the countries of origin of other international guests that have registered for the Niagara Kite Festival of 2007...
- United States
- New Zealand
This won't be a complete list, I'm sure.
In recent years, a whole range of land-based kite-powered extreme sports have gained in popularity. Just 2 of the kite-powered sports that will be on show at the Niagara Kite Festival are kite buggying and kite mountain boarding.
Plus some kite surfers seeing how far they can jump off the fastest flowing section of the falls. Just kidding!
A range of exhibitions are planned. Topics include...
- kite history
- kite aerial photography
- miniature kites
- kite stamps
See how kites can appeal to all personalities, from extreme dudes to the quieter types you might find checking out those exhibitions!
Loads of street entertainment will help to give a carnival atmosphere. For example...
- quad-line kite flyers
- street theater
Interested in making kites? If you want to try your hand at this, there will be a number of kite-making workshops.
The Niagara Kite Festival
A Really Brief History
The Niagara International Kite Festival has been described as
'sporadic and spectacular'. Why sporadic? Well, the first one was
originally intended to be a one-off, and so several years passed before
another similar event was organized.
A professional kite flyer and kite historian, Meg Albers, got the
first Festival ermm off the ground :-) in May, 1992. This event
included a re-enactment of the Homan Walsh Kite Contest of 1848, which
I've already mentioned further up this page. The re-enactment, which was
successful I might add, even took place at the original site.
The weather was pretty bad apparently! That's it for 2005.
On this occasion, the festival was held over the Canadian
Thanksgiving and Columbus Day weekend. Four days in all, from the 6th to
the 9th of October. Two different venues were used. Those were the
brink of the Falls themselves plus the escarpment, and the Reservoir
This festival went very well, and generated considerable public demand for more of the same in years to come!
At the original writing of this page, this hadn't come around
yet, but the organizers were doing their best to ensure it was just as
big and successful as the 2006 event was. The planned venues were going
to be the same. At this point it seemed that the Niagara Kite Festival
would be an annual event for a long time!
Who were the organizers? The Niagara Tourism Convention Corporation and an organization called Sky’s the Limit.
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...
"Kites Up!" is my downloadable board game. It's a PDF file which has all the documentation for the game plus images for all the components. Tokens, cards, the board itself and so on. Anyway, just click that link to see more info :-)