BY ALISON CHURCH
Across an open field, accompanied by the grey-blue water of the San Francisco Bay, people flying kites, strolling, eating, and enjoying the surreal sky can be seen meandering throughout the peaceful Berkeley Kite Festival. Attracting thousands of people from all around the world, the Berkeley Marina has hosted the annual Berkeley Kite Festival for over 30 years now, and looks forward to many more. From giant octopuses to dragons, creatures of all sorts can be seen swirling across the sky like wandering spirits. Not only does the festival offer kite flying competitions, but it also provides the opportunity for people of all ages to make their own kites at the festival, receive professional kite flying lessons, and bring their family and friends to fly their own unique kites up into the windy sky.
One of the most popular events held is the Candy Drop, where a kite releases candy to a swarm of children who run to try and grab as much candy as possible. The festival is filled with various delicious food stands ranging from oysters to fish and chips, making the event a perfect opportunity for a summer picnic by the water — with the unusual bonus of colorful kites dancing above. Other popular events include team kite ballet and the Rokkaku battle. In the Rokkaku battle, the festival allows the public to join in on a kite flying battle; in order to win a participant must take down the other kites in the air.
By far the most beautiful thing about the festival is how it brings people together and allows people to be more in tune with the world around them. Its wholesome, cheery energy and its separation from the chaos that lives outside of it makes it a refreshing getaway. It is a day where one can let their mind float away with the carefree kites who live off of the wind and the earth. It encourages the habit of looking away from your screen and instead up towards the sky to notice its details and its vastness. It makes a person feel small, yet safe enough to fly away with the kites for that single warm day in June.