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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Town’s kite festival takes to the skies

THE skies over Prudhoe are soon to be given a breathtaking splash of colour as kite fliers from around the country breeze into the town for a two day festival.

Prudhoe Kites

Between 10am and 4pm on September 29 and 30, crowds of thousands are expected to turn out at Highfield Park to watch huge oriental kites, 3D animal kites, dancing butterfly kites and formation displays, with all the action being analysed by a professional kite commentator.

The event, which also includes a children’s teddy bear parachute jump, is being organised by Prudhoe Town Council with the help of Allendale man John Dobson.

A retired professor of information management, John has been flying kites for around 20 years and has organised similar festivals around the country.

“It’s about seeing something spectacular in the sky – art in the sky essentially – and there’s something quite nice and beautiful about that,” he said.

“It’s a good family day out as well as young children enjoying seeing it.

“A lot of large, expensive kites – some of them 10m in size or more – will be on display, but we also want to get some public involvement.”

The unusual event is the latest highlight in the social calendar of a town becoming renowned for its ability to draw in the crowds.

This year, Prudhoe received huge praise for its Diamond Jubilee and Olympics celebrations, the resurrection of the traditional Miners’ Race and a successful Highfield Fest BMX event.

As well as the kite flying demonstrations, the festival is likely to include a kite trader, a kite making workshop and a skate competition that was due to be held at the Highfield Fest event in June but was cancelled due to the rain.

A band, a face painter, craft or community stalls, catering and an ice cream van are also expected to turn out, with Prudhoe Town Council committing a total of £2,000 towards the event.

Town council administrator Sarah Eden, who has been working on the logistics of the day, said: “It’s a new one for us, but Highfield is the perfect place to hold it; it’s long been dubbed the windy park, so hopefully we’ll get the weather.

“We’re hoping that it could bring in around the same numbers as the last Highfield Fest – about 1,500 people – or possibly even more.”

Chairman of the town council’s events committee, Coun. Jennifer McGee said: “The kites sound fantastic – some are pretty much the size of the town council office – and we’re told that people come from all over the place to see these displays.”

Prudhoe Mayor Coun. Tony Reid said: “It has the potential to be a really successful event, especially considering the number of people expected.”

The schedule for each day will be dependent on the weather and a risk assessment will be carried out beforehand.

Parking will available, with drivers being directed by members of Prudhoe’s Army Cadet Force.

For more information, contact Prudhoe Town Council on (01661) 835487.

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