Homepage Everyday Adventures Work Visit! Contact

Weifang Teams

The kites were the stars of the festival, but the people flying them came in a close second. Not surprisingly, most of the spectators lived nearby, but the contestants came from across China and around the world. We had fun meeting some of the teams and their kites; they also seemed to get a kick out of a pale-white family speaking Chinese.

Few of the teams wore traditional costumes from their homelands, but this group of Korean men had extremely funky hats that they were glad to have photographed. They even let Miranda try one on!


These Malaysian team members also had extra cool hats, that not only were colorful but could be doffed and folded into handy little packets.

Note the other interesting detail about this photo -- the Coca-Cola umbrella. Aside from signs for China Mobile,the country's largest cell phone service provider and ubiquitous presence, Coke paraphernalia was the only sign of commercialism at the festival.

We would actually have welcomed a little more commercialism - we couldn't even find an official festival T-Shirt for sale!

Each Chinese regional team had its own station under an umbrella, like this team from Hebei province. We happened to take these photos during lunch, and had fun noticing what each different group was eating. All of it was "Chinese food"', but every regional cuisine (and aroma) was on display, since each group had brought its own food. Yum!

We of course paid our respects to our "home team" -- a group from Beijing, pictured below on the left.

The group on the right had very cool high-tech kites, but no placard. Maybe they were sneaking in from Taiwan?!?

Miranda stopped for a photo with the head of the Shanghai team, shown here perched inside his little sun tent.
A few tents over we ran into Mr. Yao and friends -- a perfect example of China's new entrepreneur. He dropped out of school to learn wind-surfing, taught himself how to kite-surf, and then saw a TV show on kite-biking. He set out to build what he saw on TV, and was at the Festival to launch a business to sell his cool kite-trikes. He selling point: "They're less than half the price as the ones in the US, and just as good!"

We weren't the only ones taking pictures of the interesting people at the Festival. Plenty of people wanted our picture too! We were literally followed around by small groups of people who watched us with undisguised curiosity.

Every so often someone would be brave enough to ask, in halting English, if we would pose for a picture. When we answered in Chinese, the rush was on! One time we posed for more than 10 photos in a row. The girls are usually not fond of being the center of attention, but they were very willing and game to pose in Weifang - especially since we were taking so many photos ourselves! They quickly realized, too - because many people told them - that for most of the people we met, the girls were the first foreign children they had seen in person!

Though I was impressed with the organized, almost-professional teams (with their matching uniforms and choreographed movements) I have to admit that I was most fond of the smaller, two-person teams. These guys simply loved flying kites.

One would hold the string while the other lauched the kite. In between launches they would chat about their kite, how it should be adjusted, and what the wind was up to. They were amateur sportsmen in the very best sense.

Where there are teams, there must be judges. In this case, they were really well organized!


Kite Festival chapter shortcuts: Intro Coolest Kinds Vendors Girls Teams Judging Dragon Kites

Weifang chapter shortcuts: Intro Kite Festival Kite Factory Kite Museum Calendar Factory

Homepage Everyday Adventures Work Visit! Contact