AUSTIN -- An annual festival returns to Austin this weekend, kicking off a season of spring activities around town.
The 85th annual Zilker Kite Festival will be held on Sunday, March 3. The free event starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m.
Organizers say more than 20,000 people come to the park every year to fly kites. About 200 to 400 volunteers help with the festival, which holds contests and giveaways throughout the day. Contests will be held to pick a winner in categories like largest kite, strongest pulling kite and more.
This year there will also be performances by the famed giant kite flying team, Gomberg Kite Productions International. There will be a 50-yard dash, rock wall climbing, face painting, moonwalks and kite construction booths as well. Organizers add that more than 40 local food vendors will be present at the festival.
"This is a beloved, free event that has been a favorite custom for our city for generations. The simple act of gathering in the park to fly kites together-unfettered by alcohol or live music with no barriers to participation-that is what Austin is truly about." said ABC Home and Commercial Services president/CEO and festival spokesperson Bobby Jenkins.
Shuttles will be available to take festival-goers to and from Zilker Park. For more information click here.
Organizers say pets are welcome to attend the event. If there is rain, the festival will be held on Sunday, March 10 instead.
The Zilker Kite Festival is the longest-running event of its kind in the United States. It began in 1929, founded by the Exchange Club of Austin. The festival moved to Zilker Park in 1936.
For more information and a map of festival grounds click here.