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Berkeley Kite Festival Canceled Due to Event Fee Hike

A family favorite for over 30 years, the popular kite festival has flown its last kite
By - posted 7/26/2022 No Comment

Thanks to Berkeleyside for sharing the unfortunate news that the long-running Berkeley Kite Festival has been canceled indefinitely.

Sadly, Tom McAllister, who has organized the festival as a labor love for over 30 years, has stated that Berkeley has raised its special event fees exponentially, to the tune of $45,000, which more than doubles his total cost of hosting the festival.

The special event fee he last obtained in 2019 only cost $1,000; however, McAllister also shelled out $35,000 for additional event fees such as renting portable toilets, garbage, and staffing. The increased city event fee makes the festival too much of a financial burden for both McAllister, and the city of Berkeley. The last year the annual Kite Festival was held, in 2019, the festival cost the city $105,000 for additional services such as firefighters, custodial staff, and parking attendants.

The widely popular festival, always held on the last weekend in July, ran from 1986 to 2019, and drew crowds of upwards of 30,000 kite enthusiasts who came to watch spectacular kite performances, wondrously enormous kites, and expert kite demonstrations. A key staple of the festival was the free kite-making station, where McAllister’s kite company, Highline Kites gave away over 2,000 kites over the festival weekend.