This festival has become the annual observance of a classic kite duel back in 1969. The Maharajah of Bharatpur, India challenged the Governor of Delaware to a kite-flying contest. When the date came, the Governor was out of town, so his Lt. Governor, Gene Bookhammer stepped in to take up the challenge.
Each of their lines was equipped with 12” of abrasive sand on the string near the kite. Fighting for position, Bookhammer’s kite was the victor, cutting the Maharajah’s line. The following year, he returned and once again Bookhammer came out the victor.
Ever since then, people have been bringing their own kites at the end of spring, and the Kite Festival has turned into the quasi-official opening of the summer season at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware.
This year saw a range of competitions for children, teens and adults; with prizes for looks, height, stunt flying and ballet (the equivalent of ice-skating to music.) Hundreds braved the 45 degree temperatures and brisk winds to sail their homemade and store-bought kites on the parade grounds.