Annual kite festival fills Zilker Park with color, brings community together


Maddie Spencer / Hilltop Views

Thousands of attendees gathered at Zilker Park to fill the sky with their colorful creations. The ABC Kite Festival celebrated its 90th year this week.

Sunday’s sharp winds and chilly weather didn’t stop thousands of people from gathering at Zilker Park for the 90th annual ABC Kite Fest, the country’s longest running festival of its kind.

This vibrant festival started in 1929 as a way to foster creativity in children and has become one of the communities most beloved traditions. The live music and large span of food trucks from Austin favorites like Amy’s Ice Cream created a lively atmosphere that people of all ages enjoyed.

“My wife and I come every year. It’s one of our favorite things to do here,” Charlie Dix, an Austin resident and new father, said. “We’re really excited that we get to share this with another member of our family now.”

One of attendees’ favorite aspects of the event is the kite showcase and contest sponsored by the Exchange Club of Austin. People compete with their own homemade kites in eight different categories such as “most unusual kite,” “oldest and youngest kite fliers” and “steadiest kite.” While the first, second and third place winners only receive a trophy and bragging rights, most of the competitors take it very seriously.

“I make two kites every year and enter the oldest kite flyer and most unusual kite events,” Dory Flint, a 74-year-old Austinite, said. Flint has lived in Austin since she was 22 and has attended the event for over 15 years. “I haven’t won any of the events since I started coming, but I plan on trying for as long as I can!”

Though the kites are the main attraction of the festival, there are many other activities that make it great for families with children and pets.

Every year, ABC Kite Fest puts on MossFest, a children’s music festival that features notable children’s music artists. This year, singers Que Pastas, Mr. Will and Grammy-winner Dan Zanes performed sets that entertained children of all ages. The Barton Hills Choir, who have performed nationwide, also took the stage to showcase their talent.

A new addition to the festival this year was the Pet Zone, which gave pets and their owners a place to enjoy the event together. A dog-sized swimming pool and puppy playground were some of the most popular attractions among the furry companions.

The ABC Kite Fest was founded by the Exchange Club of Austin and is put on by Friends of the ABC Kite Fest, a nonprofit organization. The festival aims to to support the nonprofit and bring the community together through creativity and fun. Each year, all of the proceeds from the festival are donated to Communities in Schools of Central Texas and the Moss Pieratt Foundation.

Due to a recently signed pledge with the Exchange Club of Austin, ABC will host the festival at Zilker for 50 more years. It will continue to be a place for the community to gather and share their creativity.