China's kite festival draws enthusiasts from home and abroad
The 40th Weifang International Kite Festival, which kicked off Saturday in Weifang in east China's Shandong Province has drawn kite fanciers from China and beyond.
The coruscating festival, featuring an array of kites in various shapes and sizes ranging from a gigantic trilobite to a 50-carriage high-speed train, has become one of the most iconic international events held in China since the country initiated reform and opening up in the late 1970s.
According to the organizers, more than 600 kite enthusiasts from 59 countries and regions are attending this year's festival, including many from overseas who missed the annual event over the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Weifang is very famous among kite lovers around the world," said Stanislav Kolbintsev from Russia, who was seen with a giant bird-shaped kite. Amazed by China's long history of kite flying and the huge public enthusiasm for the sport, he said he hopes to visit more Chinese cities to fly kites.
"I've loved flying kites since I was a child. Flying kites has many good meanings in India," said Arindam Adhikary, an Indian expat. He was one of the dozens of foreign students from Weifang Medical University who attended the event as spectators.
The main activities of the festival, which include competitions for kite making, flying and fighting, are scheduled over the weekend.
The first Weifang International Kite Festival was held in 1984. The festival has since grown in scale and international influence together with China's continuous opening up.
Known as the "capital of kites," Weifang has a long history of kite making, with some records suggesting the first wooden kite was invented there during the Spring and Autumn period more than 2,000 years ago.
The city boasts a thriving kite industry, employing more than 80,000 people in its 600-plus companies involved in the manufacture and sale of kites.