Thousands expected at Livingston kite fest

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comApril 12, 2013 

— The second year of the Livingston Kite Festival is coming up Sunday, and organizers are putting the final touches on the event that was attended by thousands of people last year.

They expect attendance to double during this year's event. More than 3,000 people came out in 2012.

The day serves as a family event, said Julio Valadez, an agent with the Knights of Columbus, which is helping organize the event along with the city.

"All we need is the wind," he said.

The event will coincide with the Week of the Young Child, a national program that focuses on the needs of children.

"It's time to shake out the cobwebs, come out of winter hibernation and get kids doing outdoor activities instead of playing video games," he said.

This year's festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Livingston Middle School on 101 F St., Valadez said.

The festival is free to attend and will include many activities, such as face painting, pie-eating contests, bounce houses, cultural performances, food and kite-flying demonstrations, Valadez said.

The entertainment will run throughout the day.

Those who attend can enter kite-flying and building competitions to win prizes, Valadez said. The first 500 kids will get a free kite at the event, and there will be kite-making workshops. Local schools have taken part in kite-building events in the days leading up to the festival.

Like last year, Valadez said, there will be a candy drop, with candy released from a bag attached to a kite in flight.

This year the drop will be named after Jim Strealy, a local kite enthusiast who died while flying a kite at Lake Yosemite last year, just a couple of months after participating in the Livingston Kite Festival, where he flew the candy drop kite.

City officials noted that the event is paid for by fund-raisers and doesn't take any money from the city's general fund.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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