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Kite runners head to world's Capital City of Kites

A 40 square meter kite in Weifang, world's
            Capital City of Kites, in Shandong Province. [Photo: Global Times]

A 40 square meter kite in Weifang, world's Capital City of Kites, in Shandong Province. [Photo: Global Times] 

As spring winds hit much of northern China, Weifang, the world's Capital City of Kites, in Shandong Province, is preparing to open its 27th Weifang International Kite Festival Tuesday at the Fuyanshan International Kite Flying Field.

In the lead up to the international event, local people are preparing their kites for the Weifang Kite Competition that runs Friday to Monday - the grand prize, a chance to take part in the international round next Wednesday.

"I do not care if I can win; it's fun and good for your health," 66-year-old winner of last year's local competition told the Global Times. "The kite festival has become the symbol of Weifang."

Around 2,000 people from more than 130 teams will vie for this year's city competition prizes, a great increase compared with last year, according to Liu Zhiping from the competition's organizing Committee.

This year, Gao and his team members from Weichai Power will fly 25 kites that they have made by themselves, including one more than 15 square meters large and one dragon kite, a requirement for the competition.

"The most interesting part is the kite fighting, the person who breaks the kite or cuts off the line of the kite of his or her opponent will be the winner," Gao explained.

He added that there are different ways of flying and being able to perform radical maneuvers such as turns, dives, snap stalls and straight line passes are essential for competition success.

"Apart from the kite flying, the process of making them is full of fun as well. Generally it takes five years to become a professional kite maker," Gao said.

With 22 years of experience in kites, Gao explained that he has been very busy recently, preparing kites for competition. Generally it takes him 10 days to make a large kite while collaborating with a painter.

"Starting from March, until May every year, you can find lots of families flying kites in the square of Weifang, with very beautiful images in the sky of the city," he said.