Ocean City, Md. has become a year-round destination, but that wasn’t the case when the Kite Loft started the Maryland International Kite Expo 22 years ago.
“We just wanted to do a spring event to entice business during the off-season… This event brought people down which of course all of the businesses benefited from,” Jay Knerr, owner of the Kite Loft, said.
The 22nd annual Maryland International Kite Expo will take place April 29-May 1, beginning each day at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. The weekend event has three aspects to it: the sport kite competition, ballet events and the spectators.
This year the event will see 200-250 competitors. During the sport kite competition, dual line kites and 4-line kites will face off in a number of events including tests of precision and specific flight maneuvers. The ballet events will have individuals and teams of two or more coordinating kite routines to music lasting about 2-3 minutes each. Knerr says the ballet events are unique to watch because all of the kites are flown in sync.
Each year, Knerr says the amount of spectators for the event is in the thousands. The public is encouraged to come down, to spectate or to participate. The Kite Loft will also be giving free lessons to the public for sport kites.
Throughout the duration of the event, there will be a giant kite airshow with ginormous kites flying high in the sky. Knerr says over the past few years, there has been a 150-foot-long hump back whale, an octopus and more. New this year is a large Pegasus horse kite and hopes for a world record flight. During the event, organizers and talent will be attempting a trilobite world record. According to Knerr, the current record is held in Germany with eight, and this year organizers are going for 11.
The Ocean City event attracts much more than just locals. Knerr said each year the event draws crowds from the regional area including Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, the Carolinas, Virginia and more.
“It has become one of the premiere events in the world, it’s the largest,” Knerr said. “We started getting calls six months ago asking what’s the closest hotel and where do I book my room…”
To learn more about this premiere event, visit ococean.com/events/maryland-international-kite-expo-2016.