2016 Zilker Kite Festival attracts huge crowd

Sunday, thousands of people took the opportunity to go fly a kite at Zilker Park.

“The weather was great. It seems like a transition from winter to spring, kite fest all the time, and it's this guy’s birthday so we decided to celebrate with like 100,000 people,” said Lupe Rodriguez who brought his 2-year-old son Joaquin to the event.

“This is my first time flying a kite,” said 10-year-old Richard Hawkins.

“This is our first time and I wanted my son to have the first time experience and enjoy a great time out here with beautiful weather, so it's great,” said Donan Akplogn, who recently moved to Austin from West Africa.

The ABC Zilker Kite Festival has been filling the park with a colorful display since 1936.

“It seems to get bigger and better every year,” said Marcelo Gonzalez who is an annual attendee at the event.

There are some challenges to keep in mind at kite fest.
“You’re going to have lots of crashes. Just have an open, positive attitude,” Gonzalez said.

“He did really well until he let it go and I had to chase it down and people were super helpful, they were like, ‘Hey, I got it,’ and we got it back and then he let it go again, but it's his birthday so he gets away with it,” said  Lupe Rodriguez, referring to his son Joaquin.

The festival in Austin is the longest continually running kite festival in the United States.

The event is held on the first Sunday of March each year and this year proceeds benefit Communities in Schools of Central Texas, a dropout prevention program.

“I think just come out here with a real positive attitude and ready to have some fun,” said Gonzalez.

This is the first event since the Austin Parks and Recreation Department started using parking kiosks instead of parking attendants to collect the $5 parking fee.

“Whatever makes it more easily accessible,” Gonzalez said.

30 new parking meters are set up around the Great Lawn and at lots south of Barton Springs Road. They don't take cash, only coins or cards.

“I heard that it's intended to keep the traffic down, so anything that keeps the traffic down in Austin is fine by me,” Rodriguez said.

The parking fee is only required from March to Labor Day on weekends, holidays and during special events.

Kite festival is free of charge, not including parking, and everyone is welcome at the event, including pets.

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