Free Kite Festival: The Segerstrom Soars

Make a kite, watch the pros, and enjoy live tunes, in Costa Mesa.

IT MAY BE A RUMOR... or just an idea that's lingering at the edge of your brain, but lots of people tend to believe it, or at least lean in this notion's direction, and it is this: kite festivals really only ever happen on the beach or some water-close destination. True, true, some of the biggies around California are adjacent to the Pacific, from the Ocean Beach Kite Festival and The Festival of Kites in Redondo Beach to the sky-high party up Morro Bay way. But set out some kite-making stations, and some professionals who really know how to work the string and paper in tandem with the wind, and you have an excellent kite party anywhere. Throw in "free" and it is all made even more excellent -- excellenter? -- and add a Sunday summer afternoon for charm's sake. That's just what's going down, er, up, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Sunday, July 19. It's throwing an admission-free Kite Festival in honor of "My Generation: Young Chinese Artists," an exhibit currently on view at the museum. You don't have to pay any admission, no sirree; you just need to get yourself to the Arts Plaza between 2 and 6 p.m. on July 19. Then look for 

KITE DESIGN AND BUILDING STATIONS... which seems like a natural first stop for someone who wants to try their hand at the ancient ride-the-sky art. Of course, you don't have to build your own flyable artwork; you can admire the skills of the professionals on the ground as they work the string and read the wind and keep their cool dragons/birds/abstract kites afloat. The Pacific Trio will lend the day music, the Yulin Chinese School will stage a martial arts demo, and a kite display will fill first-time kite builders with inspiration and ideas. But there's another way to fill up, too, at the onsite food trucks, if you don't get a chance to grab a bite before making for Costa Mesa. So while we do love those sandy shows of wonder, where kites drift above the waves, it is nice to see the in-the-air artworks move a bit inland. For where there's wind, string, some nylon or paper, and a person holding the string spool, there is kitery in all of its cool, breeze-dancing forms.

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