With the debut of the world’s largest 280-meter-long dragon kite at the Weifang Binhai International Kite Flying Field, the 38th Weifang International Kite Festival kicked off on April 17 in Weifang, east China’s Shandong Province, organized by the International Kite Federation and Weifang Municipal People’s Government.
Five hundred professionals and 118 teams have flown over 1,600 kites in Weifang, dubbed as World’s Kite Capital. They worked together to fly 1,628 kites representing 31 Chinese provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, and the Macao Special Administrative Region in the competition and performance. Over 200,000 people attended the opening ceremony of the kite-flying performances on April 17.
Foreign participants didn’t attend this year’s on-site event due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, they could still enjoy the performances and competitions virtually. The organizers sent online invitations to 140 countries and regions, specially those from Belt and Road countries, and presented a video at the opening ceremony.
“Weifang Kite Festival presented Weifang to the outside world, which helps Weifang deeply integrate into the world. Weifang welcomes friends from all over the world to participate in the Kite Festival,” said Tian Qingying, the Secretary of the Weifang Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, at the opening ceremony on April 16.
With 4.2 meters in height, 3.6 meters in width, and 280 meters in length, the 76-piece dragon kite is the world’s largest, according to Zhang Jianwei, director of the festival service center, adding that 26 artisans spent 48 days on making this world’s largest dragon kite. The world’s longest kite, measuring 7,700 meters in length, also debuted in the festival and flew in the air for six hours.
Weifang Kite Festival has connected Weifang to the world and conveys the message that Weifang people love and are willing to practice the concept of peace, said Liu Beijian, the vice president of the International Kite Federation.
As one of the highlights of this year’s festival, a 1000-drone demonstration held on April 18 attracted more than 100,000 viewers. Additionally, year’s festival has showcased kite culture in the form of song and dance for the first time, thanks to the cooperation between the festival organizers and the Jilin Provincial Song and Dance Troupe. Another first involved a different form of visual art: the organizers invited 50 oil painters to design the kites and held an oil painting exhibition which combined oil painting with kites for the first time.
Additional cultural activities will be held after the festival, including the International Martial Arts Invitational Tournament, International Open Martial Arts Competition, and International DanceSport Competition.
There are nearly 300 kite enterprises in Weifang, including 39 export enterprises, with 80,000 people engaged in the industry. The kites were exported to over 50 countries and regions, accounting for 85% of the domestic and 75% of the international market shares, respectively.