Sunfest Kite Festival Returns For 34th Year In Resort

OCEAN CITY — See the skyline of Ocean City explode with color at this weekend’s Sunfest Kite Festival, Sept. 22-25 on the famous downtown Boardwalk.

Celebrating its 34th year, this world-class event is recognized as one of the top 100 most popular venues on the planet.

All are welcome to witness and participate in general kite flying, kite flying games, relays, “candy drops”, kite competitions, or just plain kite spectating, and it’s free.

In September of 1977, kite clubs from Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and New Jersey came together in Ocean City to celebrate the first Kite Festival in conjunction with Sunfest.

This event became so popular that in 1988, Ocean City was declared the Kite Capital of the World not only by the Mayor of Ocean City, the colorful Harry Kelley, but by none other than Maryland’s Governor Donald Schaefer.

Of the many activities planned over the course of the four-day kite festival, it is the “Mass Ascensions” that pack Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk with spectators.

During the daily mass ascensions, visitors and kite flyers alike gather on the beach at 6th Street and on cue launch their kites. The result is a kaleidoscope of color painted in the sky. The first one hundred participants receive limited edition pins.

This year the event will also be featuring a Giant Kite Air Extravaganza put on by regional flyers Jeff Burka, Gary Engvall, Tim Maruczack, Dennis Hawley and David Gomberg,

One of the giant kites showcased this year will be the return flight of Mel, The Giant Blue Whale. This kite, made in New Zealand is well over 100 feet long and will simply have your jaw dropping. It will be flown by Jeff and Joyce King of Maryland along with many other giant kites.

In addition, the Rev Riders from New England will be performing quad line demos throughout the festival. Quad kites are four line kites flown in formation, much like the Thunderbirds.

Several times during the festival there will be as many as 16 quad flyers standing side by side, flying to music, all in perfect formation. Dual Control Sport Kite  Demos will be performed by Lisa Willoughby, Lee Sedgwick, Dennis Smith, Terry Murray and Paul de Bakker. They are all master class flyers that will be sure to wow the crowds.

One of the most popular spectator activities during Sunfest Kite Festival is the Rokkaku Battle, held on Saturday afternoon in front of the Kite Loft, between 5th and 6th Streets. Individuals launch Japanese kites and attempt to cut each other out of the sky.

During Sunfest’s Rokkaku Battle, teams of flyers maneuver their six-sided Japanese fighting kites in an attempt to disable their opponent’s kite.

Mike Van Meers, from Gaithersburg, Md. will again serve as festival coordinator and will be directing all activities on the beach so get ready to have tons of fun.

This is a don’t miss event for young and old alike. Bring your kite, camera, and beach blanket, pray for wind, and have a spectacular time.

Schedule of Events
Friday, Sept. 23*
10    a.m.: Mega Mass Ascension
11    a.m.: Kite Games    
2:30     p.m.: Silly Band Drop
3:30    p.m.: Most Craziness on one Line

*All day free kite sport lessons,    team and individual demos and giant kite air show

Saturday, Sept. 24*

10    a.m.: Mega Mass Ascension
Noon: Running of the Bols
12:30    p.m.: Silly Band Drop
1    p.m.:    Boardwalk Dancing
1:30     p.m.: Mini Rokkaku Battle
2    p.m.: Rev Games
3     p.m.: Silly Band Drop
4    p.m.: Sunfest Choice (People’s Choice)

* All day free sport kite lessons, rev kite lessons, team and individual demos and giant kite air show

Sunday, Sept. 25*
10    a.m.: Mega Mass Ascension
11 a.m.: Individual Rokk Battle (if time allows)
Noon:    The Great Kite Auction
*All day    team and individual demos and giant kite air show

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.