Saturday, April 11, 2015

Let's Go Fly a Kite at The National Mall

If it is spring it is time for the Cherry Blossom Festival at the National Mall in Washington DC. This year the festivities started on March 20 (the first day of spring) and culminate with the Cherry Blossom parade.

Tidal Basin view during Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

For three weeks the National Mall, the Smithsonian area, is full of visitors and foreigners, estimates say 1.5 million people come  during this time. It is all true, it is hectic and crowded and yet even I who live nearby cannot stay away. I also look forward to the many festivities. One of my favorites is the Kite festival.

Kites at the Kite Festival in Washington DC

Washington Monument surrounded by kites during the Kite Festival

What I don't understand is why couldn't the festivities start with the Cherry Blossom parade in early spring and end with the Kite event? In essence moving the Cherry Blossom Festival a couple of weeks forward so that the weather is truly in spring mode. I say start the festival the first weekend in April and end it three weeks later.

This year, this is how welcomed spring: it snowed on March 20. Our spring blossoms are late and our daffodils are just getting ready to bloom.

Street view covered in Snow

The day of the Kite event, March 28, was awfully cold, it was barely above freezing in the morning with a breeze that made it feel even colder. But at least it did not rain, and it was not terribly windy, perfect for kite flying. Of course young kids as always did not seem to mind the cold weather; they came all bundled up and were running all over the grounds.

Happy child running trying to fly a kite at the National Mall

What to expect and what to do at the Kite festival

  • As in years past, there are areas helping young kids make their own kites and although the materials are provided, the kites are quite basic but they do fly!
  • They have a Kite clinic with "kite doctors" ready to help repair kites and assist young kite flying aficionados.
Group of people lined up at the Kite Clinic at the Kite festival at the National Mall

  • This year the festival was selling kites but the lines were quite long. You could buy one at the Air and Space museum but it is much easier to just bring one. Don't go crazy; just bring an average size kite to ensure it will fly.
  • The area is out in the open so be sure to bundle up, our weather is not very predictable and you want to enjoy your time.
  • Bring your camera, the views are wonderful.
View of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument during the Kite festival
Found the Kite eating tree

  • Upon arrival make your way to the main location (by the Washington Monument) and pick up a Kite festival schedule to learn when the competitions take place and how to sign up for any of them if you want to participate.
  • Find a spot and start flying your kite!

Kite Festival brochure at the National Mall

Kites flying during the Kite Festival at the National Mall

Kite in the shape of a dragon flying during the Kite Festival at the National Mall

When you are done, make your way to one of the many Smithsonian museums to warm up and to eat lunch.

Why I like going to the Kite festival

  • I enjoy flying a kite. The young kid in me still loves doing it.
  • I enjoy watching the young kids and the young at heart (which are many) having so much fun flying a kite.
  • I enjoy seeing the kites up in the air and the variety of designs, although this year there were not so many, probably due to the cold weather.
  • The Washington Monument area gives you great views of other historical monuments in the area.
  • I enjoy seeing the kite flying demonstrations and competitions. Some of those kites do take skill to fly; it is very neat to watch them.
Kites flying during the Kite Festival at the National Mall

I hope you get a chance to come to the Kite Festival in Washington DC in the future, you will enjoy it. I also hope next year's event has better weather!

Wishing you all Happy Travels in your area and a Fabulous spring!

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