Hundreds of colorful kites will take to the sky this weekend as the city celebrates its annual Jakarta International Kite Festival.
The festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday at Carnival Beach in Ancol, North Jakarta.
The Jakarta International Kite Festival is an annual international event held by the Le Gong Kite Society in collaboration with the provincial government of Greater Jakarta and the Jakarta Tourism Office.
The two-day event consists of kite exhibitions, competitions and a bazaar. Fifty Indonesian and 19 international kite clubs are scheduled to participate in the international event this year.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo will open the event on Saturday at 10 a.m. The opening ceremony will also feature traditional songs and dances from all across the archipelago.
Afterwards, all participants will proceed to the competition area to prepare their kites.
Thousands of kite enthusiasts from Indonesia and abroad usually attend this event each year.
“We’re going to see a wealth of traditions and modern creativity in the kite festival,” said Agus Setiawan, a kite-maker and senior member of the Le Gong Kite Society.
The Le Gong Kite Society is a group of kite enthusiasts based in Jakarta. The group was established by Indonesian stage actress Sari Sabda Bhakti Madjid, who is a kite-lover herself, in 1989.
Today, the group has more than 100 members from all across the country.
The group began the first JIKF in an open field at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta in 1989.
However, as the numbers of participants and visitors of the event increased, the event was relocated to the more spacious area at Carnival Beach in Ancol in the following years.
There are four kite competitions during the festival, which are two-dimensional, three-dimensional, Indonesian traditional and Rokkaku, or Japanese-style hexagonal, kites.
Indonesian clubs may participate in all competition categories. International clubs may only participate in the Rokkaku challenge.
The two-dimensional kite competition on the first day will feature kites under the general theme “Unity.”
“All participants are free to apply their own interpretations of the general theme onto their kites,” Agus said.
The general theme of the kites usually differs each year.
The judges will examine the kites on land before they are flown.
“They’re going to evaluate each kite based on their compliance to the general theme, workmanship and creativity,” Agus said.
After the land evaluation, the participants will fly their kites from the beach. The judges will then evaluate the kites based on their flight and appearance as seen from below.
“Sometimes, the kites which look ugly up close during land examination may look beautiful when flown,” Agus said, “and that’s what really counts.”
The first day will end with the “Evening Flight Attraction,” in which hundreds of gigantic kites from Indonesia and abroad will be flown from the beach with powerful laser lights being projected on them.
The Le Gong Kite Society has specially prepared a 30-meter-long, three-dimensional kite in the shape of a komodo dragon for the evening flight.
On the second day, spectators will witness the three-dimensional, Indonesian traditional and Rokkaku kite events.
The theme for the three-dimensional kite competition this year is “Jakarta.” Again, all participants are free to interpret the main theme and apply it onto their kites.
Similar to the two-dimensional kite competition, the kites will be evaluated on land as well as in the air.
In the Indonesian traditional kite competition, the participants will get all their materials, which consist of bamboo shafts, colorful onionskin and cotton lines, from the organizing committee.
They are required to create their traditional kites from scratch with all these materials.
The theme for this year’s Indonesian traditional kite competition is “Mancungan,” a traditional kite from Yogyakarta.
Evaluation will be based on workmanship, creativity and flight of the kites. Additional points will also be given to the kites that produce the clearest and highest-pitch sounds. “Mancungan has a bow structure at its head that produces a shrill noise when flown,” Agus said.
“If made correctly, the noise will be very loud and clear.”
The final round of the festival will be the Rokaku Challenge. During the competition, all Indonesian and international participants will fly their Rokkaku kites altogether.
“It’ll be very fun and intense,” Agus said. The kites will “fight” in the air and try to ground one another by using their lines, kites or the wind.
The final five survivors in the game will be the winners of the challenge.
Spectators can enjoy the festival, even if they are not listed as participants in the competitions. They can visit the booths in the bazaar and find kites in various shapes and colors from the starting price of Rp 35,000 ($3.70).
There will also be kite-making workshops for children at the festival.
In these workshops, kids will learn how to make kites from recycled materials such as old newspapers, plastic bags and plastic straws.
Le Gong Kite Society