6 October 2023

Harden Kite Festival set to be a soaring success this weekend

| Edwina Mason
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three large kites - two of them whales - flying above Harden racecourse

The Harden Kite Festival offers astonishing displays of kites large and small, professional and handmade. Photo: Harden Kite Festival.

The winds will be up and the sun will be shining with a forecast temperature of 18 degrees in the Hilltops town of Harden-Murrumburrah tomorrow (Saturday, 7 October). Perfect for flying a kite!

Yes, it’s all about flying high this weekend as the twin towns’ annual festival of kites gets underway.

Harden Kite Festival is now in its 18th year and has again attracted some of the nation’s big kites and top kite flyers out to Harden Racecourse.

That includes Kite Magic’s Michael Richards, who, together with his team, holds the world record for getting a kite 16,038 feet above ground level in 2014.

Michael is making a return visit to the festival not just to fly kites, but also to give a kite talk and workshop.

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Then there’s Frank (Frankie) Lorusso, who is set to give an indoor kite flying demonstration using his i-flite indoor kite during the festival dinner, which includes 25 of the best kite flyers from around the country, to be held at Harden Country Club on Friday night.

But on Saturday when activities officially kick off at 9:45 am you’ll want to be first to get to the massive Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) hot air balloon, which will be front and centre at the racecourse.

Hot air balloons were one of the earliest forms of aviation and were used for surveillance as early as World War I, so tomorrow is your opportunity to get up close and personal with one. You may even get to stand in the basket if the weather conditions allow.

But really it’s the big kite display that greets visitors on entry to the racecourse that offers a tremendously gob-smacking show, guaranteed to keep the kids (and adults) entranced for hours.

Organisers are expecting people to turn up to Harden Racecourse in droves, given the monumental buildup to this year’s event.

They have been working tirelessly in the background for many months now to ensure the event is bigger and better than ever, and that is no small feat.

With the shops, residences and businesses in the twin towns of Harden-Murrumburrah fully decked out in kites, it’s clear the community is just as excited.

A series of five workshops hosted by Michael Richards and Southern Tablelands Arts has also inspired scores of young kite flyers from schools across the area to create their own wind ships for the event.

The event does tip its hat to its history, stepping back in time with a photo exhibition and display that includes photos and stories from over the years of planning and hosting the Harden Kite Festival, which started life as the Fantasy Flight Festival.

A woman flying a large black and white kite.

A top tip from the professionals: “Back to the wind and let the kite go. No need to run.” Photo: Harden Kite Festival.

With entry by $2 donation, the Harden Kite Festival event offers free activities and entertainment for all ages including cultural performances and a kids’ activity alley with Lego building, face painting, a petting zoo and a sandpit.

Kite decorating workshops offer free kites for kids to make, decorate and then fly in the festival’s public kite flying area.

The main stage and circus tent will be party central with music and circus aerial shows, dance, band and competition winner presentations.

A bubble artist will also be floating around.

Browse the great range of interesting market stalls, enjoy the all-day ride pass for unlimited rides or simply sit in the shade and enjoy the fun.

There will be a variety of tasty food and good coffee available, or feel free to bring your own picnic.

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Only a 90-minute drive from Canberra located in the beautiful Hilltops region, the Harden Kite Festival will be held at Harden Picnic Racecourse, 4559 Burley Griffin Way, Cunningar, approximately 2 kilometres east of Harden.

Upon arrival, event staff, volunteers and traffic marshals will direct all vehicles to the appropriate parking spaces available. Please note traffic marshals have been directed to fill the back car parks first.

Bring your own kite or buy one on the day.

Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, this festival promises a sky full of colourful chaos and endless laughter with kites of all sizes, shapes and colours.

Join us and unleash your inner aviator. Oh let’s go fly a kite!

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