Every year the little town of Berck-sur-Mer on the Opal Coast of northern France, hosts an international Kite Festival of immense proportions! Every other year (even numbers) the World Kite Championships take place there and teams from around the globe arrive to pit their skills against each other in the spring winds on the sandy beach.
You can read more about the Kite Festival here, and in the meantime, enjoy the event in pictures:
- There is at least one Kite Festival every weekend of the year in some part of the world…
- The smallest kite in the world which actually flies is just 5mm high!
- Kite experts now believe that the first kites – flown over 3000 years ago, were made from leaves…
- The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284 – a record that is held by a Japanese kite maker…
- The record for the highest single kite flown is 3,801 metres (12,471ft) and for a train of kites it is 9,740 metres (31,955 ft).
- The largest kite in the world is the Megabite 55 x 22 metres (630sq metres)…
- In the 1820s in the UK it was said that In 1822 a couple of kites were used to pull a carriage along at speeds up to 20mph instead of using the usual horse drawn method.
- Kite flying was banned in Japan in 1760 because too many people preferred to fly kites than work
- The Romans were known to fly decorated windsocks as military banners – a form of kite flying
- Kites were introduced to Europe in 1295 by Marco Polo, an Italian explorer who returned from China bringing tales of kite flying with him – including stories that men could be lifted into the sky by kite…
- 10 year old Homan Walsh managed to fly a kite across the Niagara Falls in a kite flying contest. The string of his kite was fastened to a tree on the far side of the river, a light cord attached to it, and carefully pulled across. A heavier cord, then rope and finally a wire cable composed of a number of strands of wire followed – this was the beginning of the the first railway bridge between Canada and the USA.
- The world record for the longest ‘kite fly’ is set at 180 hours
- In the 18th & 19th Century kites were used to conduct experiments on the wind and weather – Benjamin Franklin famously used a kite during a lightning storm to demonstrate electricity in 1752.
- Samuel Franklin Cody, the famous US show man developed a man lifting kite. In 1901 Cody patented a configuration of a kite, which is still known as the Cody. In 1903 he crossed the English channel in a small boat pulled by kites.
- 1887, British meteorologist E.D.Archibald took the world’s first aerial photograph from a kite.