32-footer takes flight

It has become one of the most anticipated events in Barbados this time of year for some people. And once again the organizers sought to double the delight.

From as early as 9 a.m. yesterday, scores of adults and children gathered on the open lot in the Paris Hill, Andrews Tenantry, St Joseph community next to the old Andrews Sugar Factory, in anticipation of the two largest kites on the island to be hoisted. They were told the kites would be going up about 11 a.m.

The huge 35-foot kite.
The huge 35-foot kite.

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However, it was not until minutes to 2 p.m. that over a dozen men were trying to raise the kites.

And the larger of the two –– the 35-footer –– broke in half after several attempts to get it off the ground. Several minutes later the 32-foot kite would be succesfully hoisted, much to the delight of the eager crowd. It would fly for about 30 seconds before coming crashing down at first. But sooner than later, it would soon be aloft again.

Some of the men in the community making their way with the huge kite  to hoist it.
Some of the men in the community making their way with the huge kite to hoist it.
An attempt being made to hoist one of the massive kites.
An attempt being made to hoist one of the massive kites.

And word was it remained in the air for the rest of the day, well into night and early this morning when some gusty winds brought it back to earth at about 10:30.

Both kites were made of bamboo, black and white plastic bags, and large and lengthy pieces of cloth for the tail. It took rope to try flying the massive kites, each weighing over 300 pounds.

Before taking up vantage points to see the giant kites hoisted, children enjoyed flying their very own little kites –– and to music too, provided for general entertainment, and supported by vendors offering a wide variety of food and beverages.

These little girls posing infront of the massive kite.
These little girls posing in front of the massive kite.
MP for St Joseph Dale Marshall (at left front) was among those gathered to witness the hoisting of the biggest kites on the island.
MP for St Joseph Dale Marshall (at left front) was among those gathered to witness the hoisting of the biggest kites on the island.

The children also had the option of jumping tents.

One of the main organizers, Neil Mascoll, acknowledged that the event, which is in its eighth year, continued to grow annually, attracting more patrons, as well as sponsors.

“That is the whole idea: to bring the community together; for them to come and have some fun,” said Mascoll.

And while he was not certain what size kites would be constructed next year, he had one concern. Should the Andrews Sugar Factory go back into operation there was the possibility organizers would have to find a new home to hoist their huge kites in coming years.

“We are not sure about next year with the uncertainty surrounding the sugar factory because this is their ground we are using,” he said.

The preparation started about four weeks ago when the bamboos were picked and put to dry; but the kites themselves took about four days to construct.

“The size is never a problem. We know what we are about; but the challenge today [was] to get them in the air,” said Mascoll.

Last year’s kites were 28 feet and 30 feet.

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