x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rain takes the wind out of Dubai kite festival's sails

About 600 people were turned away after low wind speeds and overcast conditions forced organisers to reschedule the inaugural event.

DUBAI // Overcast skies dampened the spirits of hundreds of kite flyers who turned up at Dubai Creek Park for the emirate's first international kite festival today.

Organisers of the Cox & Kings International Kite Festival, part of the Dubai Shopping Festival, had to turn away more than 600 people who gathered at the venue in the morning to watch world renowned kite teams display their creations and skills.

Uttam Kumar, managing director of Tamquest Entertainments, said the weather was unfavourable for the festival, which has been rescheduled.

"A clear sky and the right wind speed is necessary for flying kites, and if we had gone ahead with the event today, it would not have been a success," he said.

"The festival has been postponed to another date which we will announce soon. It will be during the shopping festival."

Mr Kumar said the public can hold on to their tickets, enabling them to participate in the rescheduled event. "We advise them to do so. If not, we are refunding them as well."

Teams from the US, India and Kuwait had been invited to entertain residents in what has been planned as an annual event.

Kite flying is a popular outdoor sport in Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan. The game comes into the spotlight during Makar Sankranti - harvest festival- in India and Pakistan when people of all ages gather on the streets and on roof tops to show off their kites, or cut their opponents' kite loose in a competition. The loose kite is then chased through the streets by children to claim it for bragging rights. The festival was celebrated on January 15 in India and Pakistan this year.

Dr Anil Grover, a UAE resident from Delhi, arrived at the creek park yesterday with his family but left disappointed.

"Back home we would fly kites during Basant, the spring festival, and I would compete with friends and family members," he said.

"I have never had the opportunity to fly kites here and was looking forward to it today."

Dr Grovar said he would return for the rescheduled event and hoped to see more such activities that kept the culture alive.

WAM, the state news agency, said "moderate to heavy rains" fell in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region, leading to flooding in wadis. There were no reports of serious flooding, despite heavy overnight rain in parts of the emirate, including Al Ain.

In Dubai, there was light rain in the morning, which worsened during the afternoon, leading to difficult driving conditions on Sheikh Zayed Road, which was also affected by failures to its street lights.

aahmed@thenational.ae