China a to Z: K is for Kites

Weifang claims (as do a few other locations) to be the “Kite Capital of the World” and every April they have the International Kite Festival.

Traditional Kites

Making kites with bamboo frames and hand painted designs is a traditional art in the area around Weifang.

Family getting ready to fly a traditional butterfly kite.
Traditional butterfly kite soaring during the International Kite Festival.

Flying Kites for Recreation

Many people fly kites for enjoyment and relaxation. There are a couple of public squares where people come to fly kites, on weekdays this seems to be mostly retired men. On the weekends with good conditions everyone comes out. On my first trip to Weifang I was fortunate to be invited to come along to watch. My post A chance encounter tells about this.

A few pictures of people in the park (including me):

Kite Making Industry

In the countryside around Weifang City you occasionally will see a display of bright, billowing kites at the entrance to a narrow dirt road. These indicate that if you wander down that road you will come to a kite factory.

Here is a picture from the shop owned by this particular factory:


International Kite Festival

It is held at “The beach of Happy Sea of Binhai development zone in Weifang City, Shandong, P.R.C.” It is a long trip from the city center. I’ve been twice. Both times I took public buses, a great deal but not for the feint of heart.

The first time it poured rain, I spent about 4 hour there and was wetter than I have probably ever been. It was still fascinating to see the wide variety of kites. The post I wrote about that experience is Kites and Umbrellas. The next day, naturally, was gorgeous, we spent it at a special kite field day at the school where my son taught, the post about that is Kites and Kids.

Last year, the weather was beautiful, and so were the many beautiful kites. Because I took a bus after breakfast and missed the big opening. But there were many families out flying kites on the beach in addition to the extra large and fancy ones. It was a pleasant day, in town it was in the 80’s but at the beach of Happy Sea it was cooler.


I’m hoping to get there again this year. Maybe I’ll finally get to see the big dragon in flight.




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