Kite festival promises to blow audiences away

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Sep 18, 2003 - Page 2

The 2003 Taipei County Interna-tional Kite Festival will kick off this weekend on the beach of Baishawan, Shihmen Township, featuring traditional and acrobatic kite-flying performances by over 150 kite-fliers from 17 countries.

Many different types of kites and performances will be on hand at the festival. The Cultural Affairs Bureau has invited about 150 kite masters from America, Australia, Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Hungry, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

"These kite aficianados will show their unique skills to audiences," Lin said.

For example, Lin said, Glenn Davison of Texas is bringing his mini-kites made of unexpected materials. Huge three-dimensional kites designed by Martin Lester of Britain are sure to grab the public's attention. One is in the shape of a shark, another, a diver and another resembles clothing. And Phillip McConnachi from Australia, who won enthusiastic applause for his surfing/kite-flying performance last year, will revive his act this year. Lung Ta, the French team skilled at acrobatic kite-flying, will also perform.

Managing director Richard Erb of Fujitsu-Siemens Computers in Taiwan, the festival's benefactor, is also a kite enthusiast with a kite collection of 450 kites. Erb will share his kites with the audience again this year.

"I think that kites are a wonderful medium to bring people from different origins and different languages together," Erb said.

"September is the best season for kite-flying because of gusty northeasterly trade winds," said Taipei County Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Lin Pe-yu (林泊佑), who has sponsored the international kite festival in Shihmen Township since 1999, winning him high accolades for its success.

"Kite-flying is a recreational activity that combines the elements of art, sport and technology, making it ideal for every family member," Lin said.

"All the kite fliers including our national masters will show their creativity and vitality in kite design and performance to the spectators," he said.

Taiwan's kite master Buteo Huang (黃景楨) of Sanhsia (三峽) is going to display his kite in the shape of a dove that won the championship at the 2002 Holland International Kite Festival. Huang has devoted much time creating traditional Taiwanese kites in different technical materials and transformed them into many surprising creations.

Flying of a variety of elaborate kites is not the only activity planned for the festival. Organizers have arranged an exhibition of creatively-designed kites, kite-making lectures and classical and jazz music concerts to fill every day of the event, which runs until Sept. 28.

Taipei County Government is providing shuttle-bus service connecting the Tamsui Mass Rapid Transit station and Baishawan at a charge of NT$25 per trip.

The festival will last to Sept. 28. For further information about the festival, check the website or call 2253-4412.