The Katara International Kites Family Day this weekend, will “change the perception about kite flying” of visitors, according to international kite flyers who said they are looking forward to “putting smiles on faces” at the first event of its type in Qatar.
The event will take place at Katara, the cultural village, on Friday and Saturday afternoon from 3-10pm, and is open to members of the public free of charge.
Teams from China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands and the US will be participating in the event, displaying a large selection of very different kites over the two days and also helping to teach guests how to fly kites themselves.
Some 26 international kite flyers will participate in the event, which will see them displaying around 130 kites, whilst each day will also see 1,500 lanterns released into the sky over the Katara beachfront.
Kites will be shown between 3 and 8pm, whilst the lanterns will be shown between 8 and 10pm explained a spokesperson.
US kite flyer, David Gomberg from Team Gomberg said that the event will offer an insight into the reality of professional kite flying as well as various other traditional forms of kite flying.
“If people come to the event with preconceptions, I think they are going to be really surprised,” said Gomberg, adding “when they come out they will see things that will expand their ideas of what kites involve”.
He explained that the kite flyers would be showing a large variety of kites, from small, highly manoeuvrable models to some surprisingly large shapes and sizes, measuring as large as 50m by 10m.
And while the smaller models could be worth between $300-500, the largest kites can cost as much as $5,000, explained Gomberg, who explained that some teams, such as the Singaporeans, handcraft their own kites, rendering them invaluable.
This kind of cultural diversity is what the event is hoping to effectively display, and the vast differences between the range of kites on show should certainly surprise guests over the weekend.
A number of societies and non government organisations will also have stands at the event, with the Algannas Society, Childhood Cultural Center, Qatar Fine Arts Society, Qatar Photographic Society, Qatar Society for Engineers, and Visual Art Center all holding events to teach guests about a range of subjects from calligraphy to falconry.
“The cultural societies will carry out workshops during which visitors will be able to create, colour, and fly their own kites alongside their family and friends,” said the spokesperson, adding “they will also demonstrate creative examples of their work, such as a falcon fetching a kite midair”.
Speaking ahead of the event, general manager of Katara, Marcio Barbosa said: “Katara plays a significant role in creating the artistically and culturally rich environment we enjoy here in Doha.”
“The cause-related activities hosted during Katara International Kites Family Day will be a great source of edutainment for not only our spectators, but also the international guests – the kite flying teams – whom Qatar is hosting,” he added.
Team Mangalore from India will be displaying 12 traditional kites and conducting a workshop for around 150 children during which they will teach participants how to create Indian fighter kites.
Lead flyer of the team, Sarvesha Boloor Rao said: “Children will particularly enjoy this lively event. We will exhibit what we call candy drops for children – basically a koala bear which is attached to one of their kites and will drop parachutes attached with a candy. Children will love to catch the parachute.”
Manager of public relations for Katara, Malika Mohammed al-Shraim explained that members of the public will have a number of chances to participate and attempt kite flying during the event.
“The main aim of Katara International Kites Family Day is to promote arts communication culture between Katara and the public,” she said, adding that a number of societies will be participating in the event over the two days.
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