“Yunmen Liquor Cup” — The 39th Weifang International Kite Festival is set to open on September 24th, 2022 (Saturday) at the Shandong Weifang Binhai International Kite Flying Field. With “Kites Flying in the Clouds Together for A Shared Future” as its theme, this year’s Weifang International Kite Festival will assemble kite delegations from around China in Weifang to jointly witness their dreams take flight. Kite delegations from more than 50 countries and regions will also join this “Cloud Kite Festival” online.
Weifang, also known as Wei City or Kite City, is famous for its long history of kite-making and features exquisite craftsmanship. As the cradle of kites, it is honored as “the Kite Capital of the World”. With 68 registered member countries and regions, the International Kite Federation is also headquartered in Weifang. In May 2006, Weifang kites were included in the first batch of the State-level Non-material Cultural Heritage List in China.
Co-hosted by the International Kite Federation, the Chinese Kite Association and the Weifang Municipal Government, the 39th Weifang International Kite Festival is to begin on September 24 and end on October 5 (depending on the pandemic situation).
This year’s Weifang International Kite Festival is set to consist of more than 20 activities across three categories, including themed events, economic and trade events, and recreational and sports activities.
A total of six themed events are set to be launched, covering the “Cloud Kite Festival” of the 39th Weifang International Kite Festival, the Opening Ceremony, the 18th World Kite Championship, the Weifang Kite Competition, the Weifang International Kite Festival Promotion and Experience Campaign for International Students in Weifang and the 17th Kite Festival for Elementary and Middle School Students in Weifang Urban Areas.
There are five economic and trade events in total, including the 2022 Diplomatic Envoys and International Sister City Mayors’ Visit to Weifang, the 39th Weifang International Kite Festival Major Cooperation Projects Centralized Contract Signing Ceremony, the Yellow River Museum High Quality Development Forum, the World Creative City and Creative Production Exchange and Sharing Session, the “Diligent Cultivation in Shandong to Fulfill the Dreams in My Hometown” Taiwan Businessmen Rural Revitalization Exchange Camp and the 11th Cross-Strait Leisure, Sightseeing and Agriculture Communication Meeting.
With regard to the recreational and sports activities, there will be 10 projects, including the 2022 Weifang Kite Music Festival, “Fly Up” Kite-Themed Original Song Special Show, “Flying Dreams” World Cup Juvenile Painting Competition Excellent Works Exhibition and the “Painting on Kites” Oil Painting Exhibition, the 3th “Handicraft and Folk Art Capital” Kite Culture Ingenious Works Exhibition, the 15th Cross-Straits Kite Culture Exchange Event, the “Predestined Affinity Connected by Kite Strings A Thousand Miles Apart” Appointment in Weifang International Kite Festival, and others.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging across the world and many national teams are not able to be present at the event in person, the organizing committee will hold a “Cloud Kite Festival”, mobilizing kite organizations or institutions from member countries (regions) of the International Kite Federation to hold kite-flying events and share flying scenes through video, thus enhancing mutual understanding and deepening friendship and cultural exchanges through kites.
Meanwhile, the organizing committee will also organize foreign students from universities in Weifang to take part in the kite festival and share this grand occasion to their respective countries via a mobile terminal. They will also participate in the 10,000-people event to release peace doves.
The 2022 Diplomatic Envoys and International Sister City Mayors’ Visit to Weifang will invite a number of foreign diplomatic envoys in China, in addition to representatives from trade associations and enterprises representatives — about 30 people in total — to attend the opening ceremony of the Kite Festival so as to advance pragmatic communication and deep collaboration, displaying the modern and high-quality city image and investment environment in Weifang.
The derivation of Weifang kites can be traced back to the first “wooden kite” handmade by Mo Zhai, the great ideologist of the State of Lu, more than 2,000 years ago. At the opening ceremony, a large-scaled kite-themed fashion show (dance) will be staged to showcase history and culture along with various types and genres of kites. In the meantime, state-level non-material cultural heritage performances will be presented as interludes, inheriting the charm of non-material cultural heritage.
With the 39th Weifang International Kite Festival drawing near, the mascot this year, “Flero” was also unveiled. Dressed in a blue-and-white space suit and a dragon-head centipede-shaped hat, Flero features a pair of large eyes full of eager curiousness and a doll-like face on the Weifang New Year’s painting. Ever since the 37th Weifang International Kite Festival, Flero has left a deep impression with its energetic, confident and powerful image.
Collectively fueled by kites as the medium, kite culture as the guidance and kite festival as the opportunity, the Weifang International Kite Festival is growing increasingly international and inclusive, bringing with it greater economic and social benefits. In recent years, the export value of Weifang kites has witnessed steady growth at a rate of around 10% annually, with its export volume ranking the first globally. Kites are becoming a “golden name card” for Weifang as it steps onto the world stage.