Lift your spirits at the Lynch Canyon Kite Festival


(originally posted at

According to the American Kitefliers Association, kites were first flown over 2,000 years ago in China; since then, kites have been used around the world to fight evil spirits, bless harvests, carry messages, study science, win wars, promote peace, and bring joy.

Nowadays there are kite festivals around the world, and there are at least two in our local area each year: the Lynch Canyon Kite Festival and the Berkeley Kite Festival.

The 7th Annual Lynch Canyon Kite Festival will be on Saturday, April 11th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lynch Canyon Open Space Park. It is the legacy of Mike Rydjord (1946 – 2013) who had many connections to flight and flying. Lynch Canyon, where Mike was a tour guide, is part of the Pacific Flyway for birds and is home to the White-tailed Kite, a bird of prey known for its “kiting” – hovering up to 80 feet off the ground, facing into the wind, then dropping straight down to catch its prey. Nearby is Travis Air Force Base, where Mike was a C-5 pilot; he was also a flight instructor in his career in the Air Force. This will be my fifth time at the Lynch Canyon Kite Festival and I look forward to it every year. The day is a celebration of all different colors, sizes and shapes; floating and flight; family and friends; and Lynch Canyon’s green grassy hills and fields. Each of my five years we have had the good fortune of bay breezes and sunshine to lift our kites and our spirits. I love hearing laughter in the air, and this year for lunch I plan to hike up to Mike’s memorial bench to take in the view of all the kites soaring in the air above and all the people enjoying themselves below.

Another local festival will be the 30th Annual Berkeley Kite Festival & West Coast Kite Championships the last weekend of July at the Berkeley Marina. My family and I went for the first time last year and we were blown away by the size of kites and the talent of kitefliers. In particular, my nephew and I were mesmerized by the octopus kites as big as houses flying in the sky above. and are great resources to learn more about kiting. Places to buy kites include Old City Kites, online at and in historic Old Sacramento; Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports on the Benicia waterfront; Highline Kites online at and on the Berkeley Marina; Chinatown Kite Shop online at and in San Francisco’s Chinatown; and San Francisco Kite Company online at and between Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

I hope you’ll join us at the Lynch Canyon Kite Festival this April, and visit the Berkeley Kite Festival in July. Learn more at and Happy flying!
—Natalie DuMont