A large number of artistically-designed kites of various sizes, shapes and colours soared through the skies above Doha's Aspire Park on Tuesday at the opening of the second edition of Aspire International Kite Festival.
More than 100 professional kite flyers from 23 countries, including the Qatar national team, launched their kites as part of the competition while more than 200 students from six local schools, including 45 from Aspire Academy, participated in a series of workshops delivered by the Singapore Kite Association (SKA).
“The event’s growing popularity is reflected in an increase in the number of countries taking part in the competition and local schools participating in the workshops,” Somaya al-Qasabi, a member of the festival’s organising committee, said.
“This year also marked the debut by Qatar’s first-ever national kite flying team, made up of expatriates and locals,” she noted.
The participants will compete in three categories: The Largest Kite, Most Innovative Design and Best National Flag.
“My kites are inspired by sculptural designs. Each kite is painted with two colours, with white being the most dominant,” said Maurizio Cecie, president of the oldest kite flying club in Italy, ‘Vulandra’, (which means ‘Kite’ in the dialect of Ferrara, an ancient northern Italian city).
“The reason behind choosing to paint the kites in this way is that doing so perfectly complements the design, because that’s the most important element.”

The kite festival features several activities for children.

A large box kite is among the many unique and popular designs at the event.

Kadek Dwiarmika from Bali, Indonesia, participating for the first time in the annual event, said his designs are inspired by natural elements and East Asian heritage.
“One of my kites is made up of bamboo sticks, and the other from the spine of the coconut leaves and paper. I called the latter ‘metamorphosis’ because it symbolises the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly,” noted Dwiarmika, who won the ‘Most Beautiful Kite’ award in the Malaysian Kite Festival recently.
Meanwhile, the workshops in the morning witnessed students and teachers building and designing their own kites at a dedicated dome at Aspire Park.
The theory session highlighted the history of kites and how they influenced technological developments, and early uses of kites in Asia and Europe.
“Topics also included how kites grew to encompass applications ranging from studying the weather, lifting antenna for radio links and pulling canoes across the English Channel, and how kites have paved the way for modern-day drones,” organisers said in a statement.
SKA president Wing Lee said they found the participating students keen to learn kite-making, citing their enthusiasm during the workshop.
He noted that the festival has become a popular and anticipated event in Qatar as it exceeded last year’s achievement. 
“We expect this year’s edition to be another success,” Lee stressed.
The festival also provides an opportunity for many students to learn a new endeavour outside the four corners of the classroom, according to Huda Abdulmajid al-Awadi, a local teacher from Khadija Independent Primary School for Girls.
“Today we had 45 of our girls take part in the workshops and we will bring more students in the next few days for them to participate in this unique activity,” she said in a statement.
Concluding on March 9, the festival also hosts an array of food stalls, offering a variety of food for visitors.
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