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Celebrate the world of kites and National Kite Month at Lahaina’s Chinese Kite Festival

By Staff | Apr 14, 2016

Robert Loera and volunteers set up a giant Chinese dragon kite (175 feet long) for flight at Lahaina’s Kite Festival. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAHAINA RESTORATION FOUNDATION.

LAHAINA – A global and colorful world of kites will be celebrated during Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s Chinese Kite Festival.

The event will be held at the Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse at 858 Front St. in Lahaina on Friday, April 15, as well as a Kite Flying Day at Lahaina Cannery Mall’s open space lawn at the intersection of Honoapiilani Highway and Keawe Street on Saturday, April 16. Admission is free to both events.

April is National Kite Month, and in Lahaina two days of family fun are planned, featuring Chinese cultural arts, games and foods along with kite making, kite flying, and multi-line sport kite and kite fighting demonstrations.

Busaba Yip Douglas, Ph.D, Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s Wo Hing cultural director, said, “I’m hoping our kite festival will bring all kite lovers together with our community. The joy of kite flying is not only for the ones who fly kites but also for those who watch them. We invite the whole family to come out and have a good time!”

During the Wo Hing Museum festival on Friday, April 15, attendees can see kites from around the world in traditional and modern styles; kites are available for purchase. Presentations will be made by Yip Douglas on Ancient Chinese Kites, and by Kite Master Robert Loera on East Indian Art Kite Fighting, and Multi-line Kites at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Festival-goers are encouraged to help make a giant tetrahedral kite, putting together large cells to build a kite that will be nine to 12 feet tall. From 3 to 6 p.m., traditional Chinese erhu (string instrument) music will be performed by Hong Zhou. Chinese teas will be served in the garden in front of the cookhouse between 4 and 7 p.m. The Manapua Bakery will offer a variety of manapua and chow fun for sale.

Robert Loera flies a large tetrahedral kite made by festival participants during last year’s event, while participants fly their own kites on Kite Flying Day.

Bring the whole family to fly a kite on Saturday, April 16, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the open space lawn adjacent to Lahaina Cannery Mall, where there is plenty of free parking. In addition to flying their own kites, participants can watch a Chinese dragon kite (175 feet long) take flight and soar, followed by a demonstration of acrobatic sport kites at 10 a.m.

At noon, the giant tetrahedral kite that was made by festival-goers the day before will be flown, and from 1 to 2 p.m., members of the Hawaii Kitefliers Association will demonstrate kite fighting.

“I love showing my mastery of flying all kites, big or small, and seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they gaze up at colorful kites in the big blue sky,” noted Loera of the Hawaii Kitefliers Association.

The festival is sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and County of Maui Office of Economic Development, and supported by Wo Hing Society, Lahaina Cannery Mall and Hawaii Kitefliers Association. The Wo Hing Museum will be open continuously from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.

For more information, call the museum at 661-5553, see LahainaRestoration.org/events or visit Facebook.com/ LahainaRestoration.