Issue 41: Zilker Park Kite Festival

Once again, Austin,TX has proven it’s drive to fly kites. The Zilker Kite Festival on Sunday March 13 was a scene of absolute kite flying madness. The weather was in the low 80s with a sparkling skies and a 10 to 15 mph wind. Almost every square foot of the park on the south bank of the mighty Colorado River was filled with folks flying kites. Some of the north bank was claimed by kite fliers too.

Estimated attendance ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 people, many of them flying kites. Remarkable considering the Kite Festival was postponed a week due to weather and field conditions. Saddened kite fliers gathered on March 6 in a much warmer and drier spot than the kite flying field and had an impromptu kite info session with David and Susan Gomberg. Good conversation and pizza was had by all.

Various events were held throughout the day, including kids kite making workshops and contests such as highest kite, steadiest kite, strongest pulling kite, largest kite, smallest kite, 50 yard dash and most unusual kite… Made possible by a bevy of sponsors including World Wind Kites, Magic 95.5, Time Warner, News 8 and many more, kids and parents alike were invited to be a part of the event.

Under the able direction of Eddie Zihlman and Gayle Woodul, kite flying performances at the Kite Festival on March 13 were varied and superb. Jason Casey (quad), Lori Moore (fighter), Steve Edley (buggy), Stephen Hui (quad and buggy), Doug Spear (quad and buggy),, Michael Boswell (dual pairs), Jim Cox (dual pairs), Steven Ploof (quad and fighters), Ira Shields (2 kites), Joe Irby (buggy), Greg Wedeking (fighters), Erich Neujahr (fighters), Steve Young (fighters), Kelly Reed (Maxima stack), Brian Moore (single line), and Ron Schultz (dual) all performed for festival goers. Inflatables were provided and flown to the delight of all by Charles Cullen, Daniel Rojas, Rick Hawkins and Rob Cembalest. Mike Shaw flew his exquisitely made kites and Warren Harris waxed poetic as the voice of the Zilker Festival.

Austin’s own End of the Line (EOL) sport kite team even came out to entertain the many spectators who turned out to observe and participate in this year’s festival… Eddie, Jim, Steven and Michael demonstrated their abilities by executing daring maneuvers with their kites made by Skyburner.

The Zilker Park Kite Festival has been sponsored by The Exchange Club of Austin and The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department since 1936. The Kite Tournament has been in operation yearly since 1929 in Austin and is a traditional single line event. Generations have attended this celebration of spring. Jim Siler and Bruce Vickers were recognized for their support of this Festival for over 40 years with a special award from the Mayor of Austin Will Wynn.

A 77 year tradition cannot happen year after year without lots of support in lots of ways from lots of different people. The Exchange Club of Austin wishes to give special thanks to the volunteers without whom this festival could not happen:

  • The Young Execs of Austin
  • The Pebble Project of Austin
  • Boy Scout Troop 10
  • Soroptimist International of Austin
  • Keller Williams® Realty

Concessions and T-Shirt sales support non-profit organizations working the break the cycle of child abuse. Many thanks to all who participated in kite flying celebration of Spring. Come see us the 1st Sunday in March in Austin in 2006 for the 78th Annual Zilker Park Kite Festival.

For more information about the Zilker Park Kite Festival,
be sure to visit their home page here: