A scene from last year's KIte Festival.
A scene from last year’s Japan America KIte Festival.

SEAL BEACH — The Japan America Society of Southern California (JASSC) and Up Up & Away Kite Club present the 18th annual Japan America Kite Festival, the longest-running Japanese kite event outside of Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the north side of Seal Beach Pier.

Come with family and friends to enjoy Japanese and international kites of all sizes and colors. The event will feature a kite workshop and games for children, Japanese food and cultural booths, giant show kites, a taiko drum performance, martial arts demonstrations, traditional Japanese folk dancing, kite candy drops for kids, kite battles and stunt kite demonstrations.

Initiated in 1996 by Up Up & Away Kites and Up Up & Away Kite Club, the festival was joined by the JASSC in 2000, when the festival also took on its current, trademarked name.

Today, the Japan America Kite Festival attracts over 12,000 visitors and it is dedicated to educating the general public about the joy of kite flying, the variety and styles of kites, with a growing focus on Japanese kites and traditional Japanese kite making.

The JASSC annually hosts Hitachi Japanese Kite Workshops, inviting a traditional Edo kite master from Japan to benefit underprivileged children in the greater Los Angeles region. The kite master will have a variety of kites for you to see up close, and demonstrate how to fly a Japanese-style kite. Don’t miss his famous 150-yard U.S.-Japan train kite.

Free children’s kite workshop will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (while supplies last).

The kids’ game corner, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include Japanese yo-yo fishing, origami, face/hand painting, Japanese character bookmark coloring, and Japanese calligraphy. Kids can also make buttons with their names written in Japanese.

Edo amezaiku (candy sculpture) artist Shan Ichiyanagi will demonstrate his craft from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Introductory lessons on precision sport kites will be given by world champion Chieko Tagami.

Cultural performances/demonstrations will be given by Prota (taiko), Southern California Naginata Federation, Azuma Ryu (folk dancing), and Miles Hamada and Christine Inouye (Bon Odori dancing).

There will also be a silent auction, Japanese merchandise for sale (including an official T-shirt), and food trucks, including CreativEats, Dogzilla and Tokyo Doggie Style.

Admission is free. Free parking and shuttle service from Seaport Marina Hotel, 6400 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach. All-day pay parking lots are available on the beach.

For more information, call (310) 965-9050 or visit www.facebook.com/JapanAmericaKiteFest.

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