The Great Delaware Kite Festival, cosponsored by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation, will take place at Cape Henlopen State Park Good Friday, March 29.
This year’s event will be dedicated in memory of former Lt. Gov. Gene Bookhammer, who founded the event 45 years ago when he was asked by then-Gov. Russell Peterson to participate in a kite-flying contest with a maharajah from Bharatpur, India.
Bookhammer passed away Feb. 23 at the age of 94. Over the years, he continued to attend the festival as a spectator and for the past 24 years has sponsored the Best All Around Award plaque named in his honor. At the conclusion of this year’s festival, Bookhammer’s family will be in attendance to present the Bookhammer Award.
There is no entry fee for competitors. The competitions are in three age categories: Children - up to age 12; Teens - 13-17 and Adults - 18 & older. Within each age category, kite flyers are judged by the type of kite they are flying, homemade or store-bought. The Special Class awards include the Open Individual Ballet (free flight performance accompanied by music which the entrant provides); Individual Precision (compulsory figures including The Square, The Mount and Ladder Down judged on technical execution); Most Senior Flyer; Youngest Flyer; Flyer Farthest From Home; Smallest Kite and Largest Kite. The Highest Kite Award category is open to all ages and takes place at approximately 12:15 p.m. There is no charge to watch. Entrance fees apply for cars to enter Cape Henlopen State Park and will be collected at the entrance to the park - $4 per car for Delaware license tags and $8 per car for out-of-state tags. The Jolly Trolley will transport spectators to the competition field from the state park’s beach parking lot, and handicap parking is available at the Seaside Nature Center parking lot.
For those who have not made their own kites and want to participate, Kids’ Ketch and Rehoboth Toy & Kite Company will be on-site selling a wide variety of kites with ample space adjacent to the competition field to practice in advance of the competitions, which begin at 10 a.m. Also, there are food vendors, a face painter and community organizations set up surrounding the field.
There is no advance registration. Entrants can register on the field beginning at 9 a.m. and throughout the morning Friday, March 29. The Children’s and Teens' competitions take place from 10 a.m. to noon followed by the awards ceremony for the morning competitions. Miss Cape Henlopen Rebecca Lusk will present the morning awards. The Highest Kite Competition begins immediately after the morning awards ceremony at approximately 12:15 p.m. The Adult Competitions, Open Individual Ballet and Individual Precision Competitions follow in the afternoon. The awards ceremony for the afternoon competitions concludes the day’s activities. Note that the times may vary according to weather conditions and the number of competitors.