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A brief history of Austin’s ABC Kite Fest

The ABC Kite Fest — originally called the Kite Tournament — has been an Austin staple for almost a century, providing free fun for kids and adults alike.

A spaceman kite floating facing down in front of a sky filled with dozens of other kites.

ABC Kite Fest isn’t just about kites anymore — expect a pet playground, concert for kids, and a VIP club.

Photo courtesy Austin Subaru

We’ve got a kite for sore eyes, because the ABC Kite Fest is returning to Zilker Park for its 96th year.

Bringing tens of thousands of residents together (as many as 50,000 in 2023) for a wholesome afternoon of free fun, ABC Kite Fest is slated for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 14.

A little history on the fest

An article from the Austin-American Statesman in 1935

Austin’s Kite Tournaments have drawn locals for nearly 100 years.

Article from The Austin Statesman in 1935 via ProQuest

A time-honored tradition for Austinites young and old, the kite extravaganza was created by The Exchange Club of Austin in 1929.

Originally held at the former Lamar Park, the inaugural event was a competition where the Exchange Club would give out medals for largest box kite, steadiest tailless kite, most artistic kite, smallest kite, and more.

The competition moved to Zilker Park in 1936 and was henceforth known as the Zilker Park Kite Tournament until ABC Home and Commercial Services began supporting the event in 2010.

The festival has been open to competitors of all agesincluding homemade and manufactured kites — since 1956. Contest categories in present times include highest angle kite, best kite pilot, steadiest kite, most unusual kite, oldest + youngest pilots, and more.

Let the fun begin

Thousands of people gathered at Zilker Park, flying kites, in front of the Austin Skyline.

There’s sure to be fun for all ages at this beloved local event.

Photo courtesy ABC Kite Fest via Business Wire

Aside from thousands of kites to gaze upon, here are a few more things you can expect.

  • The High Flyer Club | For $100, the VIP experience includes early entry into the festival, access to reserved parking, specialty food options, and an air-conditioned restroom.
  • MossFest | Children can enjoy concerts from the Barton Hills Choir, Justin Roberts, DiscoTex, and Mr. Will from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • The Kids Club | This club will feature bounce houses and activities for little ones.
  • The Pet Zone | Grab your pup for an off-leash pet playground pop-up, plus rock climbing walls for the humans.

Learn more about the festival.