LBI FLY International Kite Festival Returns for Its Third and Biggest Year

Oct 04, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

This year’s LBI FLY International Kite Festival returns this Thursday for the third year, the biggest planned yet, with a four-day, kite-filled schedule Island-wide. Approximately 50 invited kite fliers from around the world will fly artist kites and giant inflatables and demonstrate sport kite flying techniques on Ship Bottom beaches. Pick up an event map at the welcome tent on 11th Street in Ship Bottom.

LBI FLY kite ambassador and master level sport kite pilot Lisa Willoughby has enlisted kiters from New Jersey, the U.S. and abroad – at least 10 national champion fliers, including the West Coast’s Scott Weider and Australian kite designer Robert Brasington – to be at the festival.

There will be an indoor fly competition, bol kite racing, a main field for giant 3D kites, the High Fliers’ Art Market and Bazaar, an illuminated night fly at Barnegat Lighthouse, a mayors’ kite battle and kite buggy rides for kids.

The majority of the activity takes place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.

The indoor fly, to be held Friday from 6:30 to 10 p.m. in the Long Beach Island Grade School gymnasium, has expert fliers creating lift by moving their bodies away from the kite, in a sort of dance, set to music of their choosing. Judging criteria includes choreography, execution and entertainment value.

Note to attendees: dress in layers and expect to peel down. As the competition gets underway, the temperature inside the gym rises considerably; air conditioning would cause a disruptive breeze for the kites.

Bol kite racing involves pulling a round parachute-like kite down the beach. A kite buggy is, as it sounds, a kite-powered vehicle with wheels and a steering wheel.

Additionally, kite making workshops and other activities will be offered at Bayview Park in Brant Beach; candy drops and personal kite flying instruction will be offered on the 11th Street beach in Ship Bottom; and a kite wind garden installed along the dunes at noon each day at 15th Street in Ship Bottom.

Admission to all daytime events is free and open to all spectators. The two nighttime events, the indoor fly competition and night fly, cost $2 per person.

“This was my first year involved in the festival,” Event Director Calla Aniski said. “I was welcomed into a team that consists of a handful of wonderfully committed individuals who have been working on fine-tuning this event for years. We would not have such a beautiful and expansive event without these people.”

The LBI Fly International Kite Festival is planned by the LBI Chamber of Commerce to attract thousands of visitors from near and far during the so-called shoulder season. Learn more at or  —V.F.

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