Historic ABC Kite Fest Returns to Zilker Park
Apr 18, 2024

Historic ABC Kite Fest Returns to Zilker Park

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas – Kites of all shapes and sizes took flight against the backdrop of Austin’s skyline on Sunday.

While the city’s horizon may look unrecognizable compared to when the ABC Kite Fest began, the soaring spectacles still remain an Austin tradition. The Exchange Club of Austin founded the festival in 1929. Kites first launched in the former Lamar Park and moved to Zilker Park after it opened in 1936.

Dorsey Twidwell, the Exchange Club’s president, said he remembers attending the festival as a child. 

“My first memories of the contest (were that) people drove on the field and opened up their station wagons, and brought their kites out,“ Twidwell said. “As the city grew, we grew with it. Almost 50,000 people will be in this park, enjoying the same kite contest the kids enjoyed back in the 1930s.”

(Logan Dubel/Reporting Texas TV)

Boasting free admission, food trucks and a kids’ zone, the event raises money for charities combatting child abuse. The Moss Pieratt Foundation hosted a children’s concert. Organizers continue to tabulate this year’s proceeds but said past donations totaled $35,000.

Overcast skies and wind made for sticky conditions, but that did not stop people of all ages from attending.

UT sophomore Karissa Lew said the festival offered a chance to explore more of what Austin has to offer.

“There are so many families here today, and you don’t really get to see that on a college campus, so it’s nice to see everyone who lives in Austin gathered in one place,” Lew said.

The kite contest was open to all, and awarded prizes for best kite pilots, most unusual kite and youngest fliers.

Twidwell has helped organize the festival for 26 years and said it means much more than a Sunday in the park.

“When I see the look on the kid’s face when that kite goes up in the air, or even this morning, as we were getting started and putting out trophies for the contest, I heard a crystal clear voice of a young child going, ‘Look daddy, there’s trophies,’” Twidwell said.

“That’s what keeps my wife and I going.”