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KITE FESTIVAL LAUNCHES TODAY

Vendors set up Friday evening for the weekend event. ().
Vendors set up Friday evening for the weekend event. ().

With a helping hand from Mother Nature, kites will fill the sky above the Port of Brookings Harbor today and Sunday.

Thirty-four kite fliers are expected at the 11th Annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival. They will converge on the field behind Beachfront RV Park near Sporthaven Beach to display their aerial artistry and world-championship-level skills.

Last year, an estimated 15,000 people attended the two-day festival. Organizers are expecting similar attendance this weekend.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. today and Sunday.

This year, kites of all shapes and sizes will be the primary attraction of the festival, but other events and activities will make the weekend a busy one for participants, visitors and staff, said Nita Rolfe, marketing director for the port.

The second Annual Regatta featuring yacht races will coincide with the kite festival. Today, small sail boats will be racing in the Chetco River. On Sunday, yacht races are schedule off Sporthaven Beach.

Also, the annual Harbor Volunteer Fire Department Pancake Breakfast is today from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. The breakfast, served at the fire hall on Benham Road, is offered free to all the fliers. Cost for all others is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Returning this year for the kite festival are the popular teams "Centrifugal Force, "The Bay Area Sundowners" and "Skydance."

There is no specific schedule as to when the kites will fly, as that is dependent upon the wind, but kites should be up most of the day until the closing ceremony at 4 p.m.

Sport kite flying is an annual crowd favorite at the festival, as are the flying of the giant, world-record kites up to 90 feet in length and 30 feet in height. Another exciting kite event is the Rockku kite battles between six-sided Japanese fighting kites.

Other events at the festival throughout the day include free children's kite building and a parade, and a variety of food, craft and beverage vendors will peddle their wares. The festival is a family-oriented event, so no alcohol will be available or allowed at the festival site.Sunday's schedule is identical to Saturday's with the exception that it will close an hour earlier, at 4 p.m.

Saturday's festival events wrap up with the annual fliers banquet and auction at 7 p.m. at the Brookings Elks Lodge, 800 Elk Drive.

Proceeds from the auction, plus sale of limited-edition kite festival T-shirts and sweatshirts, help to fund the annual event.

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