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Groups to revive historic Boston kite festival at Franklin Park

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 11, 2011 02:28 PM

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(Barry Chin/Globe Staff/2004)

Christian Terrones of Roxbury carrying his kite during a previous kite festival in Franklin Park.

Two organizations will attempt this weekend to revive Boston’s annual kite festival, a longstanding springtime tradition that once drew thousands to Franklin Park the weekend after Mother’s Day.

(Courtesy: Franklin Park Coalition)
Attendance at the event once known as the Great Boston Kite Festival grew steadily from its founding by Clara Wainwright in 1969 through the mid-1990s, when the turnout drew tens of thousands to the park.

However, as interest began to fade and the day's turnout began to dwindle with each passing year, city park officials, which had taken over organizing the festival after Wainwright ran the event for its first 13 years, discontinued the annual celebration five years ago.

In a few of the years since, some small local groups have tried to fill the void by holding similar, grass-root-level kite festivals at the park. But this Saturday’s free festival will have the most significant organizational backing since the city sponsored the event.

The Franklin Park Coalition and Discover Roxbury are co-hosting the "Bike and Kite Festival" on May 14 from noon to 4 p.m.

Park coalition director Christine Poff said organizers have been doing all they can to promote the event, but no one is quite sure what size turnout to expect Saturday at Playstead Field.

“We could see 300 or there could be 3,000,” she said. “We’re really trying to start this up, and we hope it becomes a tradition again.”

“People have these wonderful memories of Franklin Park, and they are always memories wrapped up in events they went to. And we hear it all the time – ‘kite festival, kite festival.’”

The day will include bike demonstrations and tours, games, contests, a moon bounce and, of course, kite flying.

Attendees can bring their own kites; the first 50 children will receive a free kite. Free bike rentals, including training wheels, will also be available for those without.

Music will be provided by DJ B.Famous from HOT97Boston. Vendors will sell food including fried dough, hot dogs and ice cream.

To see photos from the first-ever Great Boston Kite Festival, click here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at

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