THE Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) plans to make the Borneo International Kite Festival next year even grander following the hugely successful 2011 event last week.
BDA secretary Mohd Bohari Kipli said the overwhelming response to this year’s festival – the 7th in the series – would spur the organisers to do an even better job for the 8th edition next year.
“Aside from the locals, we hope more people throughout the state and nation, and indeed, the world, will attend the festival the next round,” he enthused.
He fervently hoped the Tourism Ministry would allocate more funds for the 2012 festival, scheduled in August or September.
At a farewell-cum-prize giving ceremony, Mohd Bohari said fine weather on most days of the festival was one of the reasons for the a big turn-out.
“With friendly winds right from the opening of Gudi Festival, we were able to carry out all events smoothly,” he added.
Over 120,000 people converged at the Bintulu Old Airport for four-day 7th festival which began last Thursday and ended last Sunday.
Mohd Bohari said the festival was one of the annual events in Bintulu, and this year, it drew participants from countries like Belgium, the US, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
“Although it didn’t make the Malaysia Book of Records for having the most kites flying simultaneously at a single time, the festival produced an atmosphere that was colourful and vibrant, livening up the town for nearly a week.”
He urged the international participants to persuade their friends and families to come for the festival again next year, saying “apart from enjoying the festivities, they can also learn about the local cultures.”
A Singaporean, Gadis Widiyati, who won the award for the “most committed kite flyer”, thanked the organisers for the hospitality, and the opportunity to learn about Sarawakian cultures together with the rest of the participants, especially the first-time visitors.
“It was a great festival — wonderful atmosphere with the full support of the public. As kite flyers, we believe we have a strong bonding through our hobby,” said Widiyati who never missed the chance to join the festival.
Generally, stall holders at the festival’s trade expo were happy with the public response, saying the crowd were bigger this year.
A regular trader selling food, including traditional cuisine, and drinks, said the festival gave the locals an avenue to promote their products and earn extra incomes.
One of the international teams — i-Quad Team — said they were honoured to be in Bintulu to share with the local people their passion for kite flying.
i-Quad Team, representing five countries, comprised David Hathaway (Canada), Barry Poulter (England), Steve De Rooji (Holland), Takako Barresi (Japan), John Barresi and Willow Robin Demers (US).
In the previous year, the canopy of the main stage was blown down by strong winds, and a storm wreaked havoc on the programme. This year, the weather was better, and though there were strong winds on some days, only a handful of stall operators reported having some of their items blown away.
A total of 16 awards were presented.
Sazali Moss of Sarawak won the first-ever World Kite Fighting Championship award with Supriyanto of Indonesia as the runner-up. The third and fourth placings went to Roslan Buswari of Kota Kinabalu and Norizamiwati Mohd Zaman of Kuala Lumpur Flyer Club.
Gadis Widiyati (Singapore) won the platinum award for the Most Committed Kite Flyer with the silver and bronze going to Awang Masli Hussein (Brunei) and Azemi Ariffin (Penang).
i-Quad Team took two awards – for the Best Team and for the 100th Participation in a Kite Festival.
Japan’s Air-Rex was the Best International Team while Putrajaya Kite Association was the Top National Team.
Andreas Fishbacher of Germany and England’s Sara Longbottom were judged the Most Committed International Kite Flyers in the male and female categories respectively.
Awards for the Most Sporting National Male and Female Flyers went to Christ Tan of Windancer KL and Norizamiwati Mohd Zaman of KL Flyer Club.
Ron and Baew Spaulding of Thailand took the Most Sporting Kite Couple award while France’s Rosier Bertrand won the Most Colourful Kite category.
Vietnam won for the Most Colourful 2D Kite award.
In the Rokakko Challenge, MAS Club beat Vietnam to the title.
Sarawak’s Ismail Mohd Jaafar won the Best Train Kite award with Maksum (Indonesian Kite Museum) in second spot.