America in general, and Berkeley in particular, enjoys celebrating each and every pastime that can possibly exist. Especially if you can make a competition out of it. This weekend it's the turn of the kite flyers, with a two-day festival down at Berkeley Marina featuring giant flying octopuses (octopi?), synchronised displays to music, and enough space and wind to allow all-comers to have a flutter.
There was a surprisingly aggressive fighting kites tournament with much cheering from the crowd, but the highlight for me was the far more cut throat "candy drop". The children lined up on one side of the field as a bag of sweeties was hoisted on a kite string high up into the air. After a count of three the bag opened, the goodies fell, and the children were set loose. Wow - it turned out that the fence was for our protection, not theirs.
I fancy myself as a bit of a kite flyer, having honed my skills on Llandudno beach with my Dad and an original Peter Powell (the stunt kite, like everything else, was a British invention). Today I only brought along a small single-string, which saved my blushes while watching people who really knew what they were doing. Tomorrow I'm off to find a hill and start practicing for next year.
Kite flying: popular.
Some large sky-dwellers.
Not quite measuring up.
A strong field for the fighting kite championship.
Shauli and Anat find the best position to view the action.
Great work from one of the synchronised teams.
Ok, time to turn it on.