Morro Bay Kite Festival draws families and enthusiasts

Free-flying family fun at the 2016 Morro Bay Kite Festival

The Morro Bay Kite Festival brought a weekend of fun events to the beach at the Rock in 2016.
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The Morro Bay Kite Festival brought a weekend of fun events to the beach at the Rock in 2016.

Morro Bay seagulls shared the sky with giant octopuses, fish and stingrays Saturday.

No, massive sea creatures did not suddenly sprout wings — the oceanside community played host to its 10th annual Morro Bay Kite Festival.

Shaun Farmer of Farmer’s Kites, Surreys and More in Morro Bay started the two-day festival a decade ago. Families from all over California flooded the beach on Saturday to fly their own kites or watch 40 invited professionals perform and send their giant creations aloft. Sandcastle-building contests, a 5K kite run and 20 vendors selling a variety of foods added to the fun.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will continue Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a family kite relay and a contest judging homemade kites.

“When you go out to fly a kite, it kind of brings you back to your childhood,” Farmer said.

Morro Bay Kite Festival Continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the beach north of Morro Rock. The festival is free.

This year, Farmer said he estimated about 3,000 people sent 800 to 1,000 kites into the sky on Saturday. Central Coast Funds for Children, a San Luis Obispo County nonprofit, gave out 500 kites for kids to decorate and fly.

Elizabeth Beckett said the festival is an annual tradition for her family. This year, she brought her daughters, Emily, 6, and Olivia, 4, from Los Osos to enjoy the beach and watch the kites. Emily ran around in the sand with a red Curious George kite in tow, while Elizabeth and Olivia watched the professionals do their thing.

Down the hill, groups put on “kite ballet” shows, in which performers fly small, aerodynamic kites to music. The Four-ce, a troupe made up of two couples, Jeanette and Mark Lummas from Yorba Linda and Mark and Carol Pittman from San Diego, recently took their choreographed routines to France, where they performed at the International Kite Festival.

Jeanette said the international kite community is a very tight-knit one: “Whenever we go to a kite festival, there’s always going to be a few people we know.”

Richard Delisio of Three Rivers brought his giant inflatable kites, which are secured in the sand and fill with wind to create a balloon-like effect. His huge red octopus filled the sky until the tide came in and people started to move dangerously close to the powerful kite.

“It’s relaxing, it’s family-oriented,” Delisio said of kite-flying. “It’s nice to meet people.”

Michael and Julissa Macias came from Merced to fly their inflatables. A turquoise octopus and multicolored stingray floated in the sky above the couple as they prepared to set up more of their kites. Julissa Macias said the couple has at least 100 kites and travels to a number of festivals.

“We just started chasing the wind,” she said.

Michael Macias said he’s been flying kites since he made them out of garbage bags and fishing line as a kid.

“It puts a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “That’s what I like about it.”