Zilker Kite Festival is one of Austin’s best-known annual events. Held on the first Sunday of March, it is the kick-off to the hundreds of springtime activities in Austin. Everyone is welcome to attend (pets too!). There is no admission to attend or to participate in the contest. Most folks come out to see the spectacular sight of hundreds of kites in the sky and to enjoy a spring day in the park.
The ‘Kite Tournament’ was created by The Exchange Club of Austin in 1929 with a mission to encourage creativity in children. Exchange Club President Ed St. John came up with the idea to give kids a constructive activity the community could participate in. The first Tournament was held in Lamar Park, which is thought to have been close to the intersection of Congress Avenue and 1st street.
In 1936 The Exchange Club partnered with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department to bring the event to newly opened Zilker Park. In 1956 the Kite Tournament was opened to competitors of all ages and to this day contest events have changed very little. It is the longest continuously running kite festival in the United States and is sponsored by the Exchange Club and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department every year.
The festival is presented each year by the Exchange Club of Austin, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Exchange is a group of people working to make America a better place to live through one national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse, and other community service projects. Since 1924, the Exchange Club of Austin has worked to improve our community, help the disadvantaged and encourage good citizenship. Exchange helps members to develop leadership, networking, and organizational skills that contribute to success in business, family and personal endeavors.
More importantly, Exchange provides members the opportunity to share their talents to help others whether by reaching out to an abused child who needs love and affection, helping to organize a community crime prevention program, or wielding rakes in a clean-up project. Through these and many other positive public spirited projects, Exchangites are making a real difference in cities and towns across America.
Every year, the Exchange Club of Austin raises money to help support non-profit organizations in Central Texas engaged in the prevention of child abuse. The Exchange Club also provides Baby Think it Over dolls to area schools and scholarships to high school students who have overcome extraordinary circumstances to complete high school. To find out more about the Exchange Club, visit the website for the Exchange Club of Austin. If you need to contact the festival organizers, call 512-448-KITE (5483) or email us at [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].
Zilker Metropolitan Park is a recreational area in the heart of south Austin (near Barton Springs Pool and Lady Bird Lake) that comprises over 350 acres (142 hectares) of publicly owned land. It is named after its benefactor Andrew Jackson Zilker, who donated the land to the city in 1917. It was developed into the park during the Great Depression in the 1930s and officially opened in 1936. The park serves as a hub for many recreational activities and the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake, both of which run next to the park. The park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 1997.