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Halifax kite festival takes on meaningful theme amid pandemic

The fifth annual Atlantic Kite Festival took place this weekend in Halifax, attracting locals and tourists alike.

Jamie Tierney and his wife Denise were visiting from Nanaimo, B.C., and say they were thrilled to come across the event.

“It is absolutely beautiful. We’ve been here well over an hour now and we could just sit here all day,” he said.

“I think it’s a perfect theme for the time. I see everyone gathered together here and enjoying themselves. Families and small groups, and it just is uplifting,” said Denise.

With beautiful sunny weather, hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the festival with an appropriate theme this year: Fly As High As You Can.

“Whatever obstacles you have in life, everybody has their own obstacles. We just have to keep going and keep pushing higher. And with kite flying, that’s what you have to do,” said Dolly Mirpuri, the project coordinator for the East Coast Kite Festival.

“With the pandemic, everybody’s lives have been thrown upside down, so this is something they can have control over — flying this kite into a higher level of life.”

Mirpuri was born and raised in India and together with a group of her friends, decided to start the annual festival to bring a little piece of home to Nova Scotia.

“A lot of us are immigrants from India and there’s a big international kite festival that happens in January so missing out on that, we brought that here to Nova Scotia,” she said.

Ranna and Kam Bhatt are also from India but currently reside in Toronto. They came to Citadel Hill expecting to experience the history and were pleasantly surprised. Seeing the kites fly above them was reminiscent of their home far away.

Ranna said they were delighted as this was something they used to do when they were children.

“We are delighted and we are very happy to be here. It was an accident but it was a beautiful accident,” said Kam.

The Bhatts were not the only tourists who were feeling nostalgic. Manisha and Chirayu Upadhya were visiting Halifax from Niagara Falls and were taking many pictures and FaceTiming with their loved ones, telling them about the joy they were experiencing watching all of the colourful kites.

“It brings back very beautiful memories because that’s the time when everyone in the family gets together,” said Manisha.

She said she remembers sitting on the terrace with friends and neighbours as a child, listening to music, eating sweets and watching the kites fly around.

Mirpuri says the feedback from the community has been incredible, which makes her want to continue doing this for years to come.

“We’ve had so many people reach out that they relive their childhood flying kites and now they can share that memory with their children or grandchildren,” she said.

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