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Fifth annual Kite Festival glides into Livingston
kite festival pic1
The fifth annual Time to Fly Kite Festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Livingston Middle School, 101 F St., in Livingston. - photo by Photo Contributed

The sky over Livingston Middle School will be decorated with a beautiful array of colorful kites this Saturday as the Knights of Columbus host the fifth annual “Time to Fly” Kite Festival.

The event is a celebration of both professional and leisure kite fliers, with giant, colorful show kites taking flight. The first 500 children through the gate will receive a free kite. Giant kite flying demonstrations will be held and children can show off their kite building skills through workshops and contests. Other activities include a pie eating contest, face painting, bounce houses and vendor booths.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with the community’s public safety departments with demonstrations from Livingston Police and Fire, California Highway Patrol and Merced County Sheriff.

The event will kick off at 9 a.m. with the landing of the Merced County Sheriff’s Vietnam-era Huey Helicopter, and later in the day the Sheriff’s SWAT armored vehicle and water rescue boat will make appearances. The pilots, SWAT team and dive operators will also be available for children to meet.

Julio Valadez of the Knights of Columbus encourages attendees to get to the event early. At last year’s event, there were approximately 4,000 people in attendance. Valadez expects closer to 5,000 people to attend Saturday’s event. The festival, which was held on Sunday in previous years, was switched to a Saturday event after the Knights of Columbus listened to input from the community.

The free festival is a way for children to have fun while simultaneously giving their parents peace of mind, according to Valadez.

“It’s a good way to get kids outdoors and in the sun instead of playing video games inside,” said Valadez. “They don’t even realize they’re exercising while pulling the kites through the air.”

The event will take place at Livingston Middle School, 101 F St., in Livingston, and all proceeds from the event will benefit local youth sports.