Battle for the Skies at the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

Cherry Blossom kite festival returns Saturday, March 31

By Jocelyn Rubin
|  Monday, Apr 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:48 AM EDT
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Battle for the Skies at the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

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Kites fly high during a festival.

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Under a special centennial arch of 100 small pink kites, the annual Cherry Blossom Kite Festival will return on Saturday, March 31, featuring a variety of kite building competitions, ballets and demonstrations.

In one competition, individual competitors and teams use six-sided Japanese fighting kites, known as rokkakus, to knock their opponents out of the sky. The last team or individual standing at the end of the battle is the winner.

There is also a mini rokkaku challenge for kids. Smaller versions of the fighter kite will be distributed, and children will be coached by seasoned kite fliers.

Reps from the Japan Kite Association will be on hand to demonstrate techniques of Japanese woodblock printing, painting and kite flying.

Three different kite-building competitions this year will be sorted by age. Kids and teens can complete for first, second and third prizes; adults can battle for best theme, people's choice and a grand prize.

During the popular "Hot Tricks Showdown," kite masters show off their best tricks in 30 seconds to music. The winner is determined by audience applause.

The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Washington Monument (Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW).

The schedule is subject to change depending on the weather.

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