Sky Cutters

Pulling the strings at the Berkeley Kite Festival.

By Arwen O’Reilly

IF YOU’RE IN BERKELEY IN JULY, YOU CAN’T miss the kites. After almost 20 years, the Berkeley Kite Festival is a time-honored tradition and one of the largest kite festivals on the West Coast, attracting kite-flying professionals, families with children, and casual passersby. Held on parkland surrounding the Berkeley Marina, you can see the kites — swooping, billowing, and soaring — from almost anywhere in the surrounding hills.

Tom McAlister, in love with the beauty and accessibility of kites, founded the festival in a desire to give back to his community. “At the time,” he points out, “most festivals were primarily either children’s events or exhibitions for professionals. ...

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