Friends of Streatham Common Lambeth Council

19th Streatham Common Kite Day

Streatham’s mini festival, Kite Day, returns to our beautiful Common on Sunday 14 May from 11:00 to 17:00. The free event is packed full of spectacular kite flying displays and is an opportunity for everyone to go fly a kite.

There is another brilliant line-up of kite flyers this year who will dazzle and amaze with acrobatic displays or astound with their huge static kites.

The Kites

Lex and Irma are the Flying Fish – they fly their kites as a pair to music. Their name comes from their first pair of team kites, which were a fish and a shark called Neptune and Jaws. The Flying Fish started out on their local common in Southampton – perhaps another pair of flyers will get the taste for kites after flying at Streatham Kite Day this year.

Last year we were hypnotised by Brian and Carl, the father and son kite flyers Team Spectrum, who have flown together for over 20 years. Carl (the son) is also one of the few people in the world who can fly three kites at the same time, so attendees will get to see a great show.

Members of the Kent Kite Flyers, which has been going since the early 1990s, will be attending the festival. One of the club's main aims is to spread the word about kite flying and encourage people to get involved so come along and have a chat with them if you need advice or have any questions.

The most established club attending Kite Day is the Brighton Kite Flyers – they have been around since the 1970s and have an international membership. You might remember the Brighton club for their impressively massive kites representing all kinds of wildlife and unusual characters.

Keith aka NASAman will join us again to attempt to use the power of the wind to lift him up into the sky but not quite into space. His incredible kites can genuinely lift him into the air so he often has to be tethered down, just in case. A sight not to be missed.

Roy Reed has been making and flying kites since he was 12 years old. This lifelong passion helps him to escape from the trials and tribulations of the real world. Bring along a kite and follow Roy’s lead.

We are pleased to also welcome back the Grumpy Old Gits and their big kites. They are a small, very select club, group or gang of ‘Old Gits’ who make kites, fly kites and muck about. Look out for them as they aim to impress.

But Kite Day is not just for the experts – the organisers encourage people to bring their own kites to fly. If you don't own a kite, why not make one or buy one on site?

The Stalls

If you don’t have a kite you’ll be able to buy one on the day from SkyBums. And Ramnath Pupkin of Hanuman Kites will be selling the Smallest Kite in the World and other kite things.

Not all the stalls are kite related – there are many community stalls and food and drink for everyone.

The Inkspot Brewery – Streatham’s own beer maker – will be running a bar again so you can wash down your hog roast, burger or jerk chicken with a locally brewed pint. Keeping up with the local theme, Fish Tale will be on the Common with an array of seafood delicacies. Streatham’s organic bakery – Elephant Bakehouse – will be on site if you want to grab one of their tasty sourdough loaves.

From sweet treats to savoury delights, meaty to vegetarian and vegan, almost all tastes are catered for at Kite Day.

Streatham is a real community and nothing says it better than the many local societies and membership organisations represented at Kite Day. All things Streatham Common are attending with stalls from the Friends of Streatham Common, Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCOOP) and Streatham Common Community Garden.

If you’re interested in local history, you can while away the afternoon speaking with members of the Streatham Society. The group has produced some fascinating publications about Streatham’s history that describe the changes that have happened since Streatham was a mere hamlet on the road to the coast.

Other Streatham community groups include Streatham Theatre Company, Streatham Women’s Institute and the inspiring Streatham Youth and Community Trust. Lambeth Mencap, Immanuel and St Andrew Fair Trade, Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs and the Spires Project for homelessness in South London will also have stalls.

Beyond the Kites

Kite Day is a wonderful family event. In between marvelling at the displays or kite flying, children can go on the bouncy castle or get their faces painted.

Dance on the Common to live music from GroovEsscence, who will play between the displays. And if dancing is not for you, explore the community stalls to get a taste of the incredible groups and societies which help make Streatham so special.

Richard Payne, from the Friends of Streatham Common, which organises Kite Day is excited about the 2017 event:

“Streatham Kite Day is London’s only kite festival and has been drawing crowds for nearly 20 years. But we think this year’s event will be the best ever – we’ve got more kite displays, more food stalls and a bigger bar and kite shop.

“You’ll have a great time at Kite Day and, most amazing of all, the event is run by volunteers and any profits made are put back into restoring and maintaining the Common and its gardens.”

History of Kite Day

Streatham Kite Day originally started as a festival celebrating all things to do with the wind back in 1998.

The first Wind Day saw not only kites but a wind harp that travelled all the way from Bristol. Wind Day was organised by the Friends of Streatham Common shortly after the group was formed. A day celebrating the wind was the perfect event for the nascent voluntary organisation as the Common lies in the path of winds blowing in from the West and was once home to a working wind mill.

After that successful first Wind Day, kites became the focus and Streatham Kite Day has become a regular event on the Common each year attracting thousands of people.

There are photos of the 2016 Kite Day in the gallery, together with an archive of earlier photos and posters.

Friends of Streatham Common

The Friends of Streatham Common is a voluntary organisation run by local residents. The Friends work to ensure that Streatham Common and the Rookery are well kept and have facilities for all sections of the local community, providing community views of the maintenance and development of the area in a way that balances the needs of a diverse groups of users.

As well as running Streatham Kite Day, the Friends also run a number of popular public events each year which include Bird Walks, Open Air Theatre in the Rookery and the Fun Dog Show.

The Friends campaigned to restore the Rookery Gardens and won funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. They have funded and installed a nature trail, and organised events to mark the Rookery Centenary in 2013.

Friends of Streatham Common has elected officers and currently has about 300 members, who help make all the activities possible. Membership is open to any individual, family or business.

If you would like to help support Kite Day and the continued maintenance of our Common, please text KITE17 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to the Friends of Streatham Common.

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