The largest kite festival in Southern California, which drew more than 10,000 visitors last year, returns Sunday.
Featuring a master kite builder from Tokyo, Samurai sword fighting demonstrations and other activities, the 15th annual will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday on the shore just north of the Seal Beach Pier.
The family-friendly event is put on by the Japan America Society and the Up Up & Away Kite Club.
Two festival fixtures will be on hand: master kite builder Mikio Toki and emcee Glen Rothstein.
Toki, who has participated in the event for more than a decade, will fly in from Tokyo to teach kite-making at the event and in classrooms at various local schools.
Rothstein said Toki will also display beautiful handmade edo-dako Tokyo-style kites that feature bridle of up to 50 strings, which allow the kites to fly without a tail.
“Mr. Toki’s designs are dramatic and sought-after around the world,” Rothstein said.
In addition to kite-making, the festival will feature Taiko drum performances by Myo Onju Daiko. The 1,400-year-old Japanese art form has become a tradition at the event, Rothstein said.
Also on tap: Naginata “stick fighting,” which will be put on by the Southern California Naginata Federation, and a Samurai sword-fighting demonstration by members of the Utsutsu theatrical troupe from Hollywood.
“Each of the different activities held throughout the day will be of Japanese culture,” Rothstein said. “This is a fun, relaxing day on the beach and is very entertaining and educating.”
Children will be able to make kites at the Kids Kite Building Tent. They can also visit a game corner to try their hand at origami, Japanese calligraphy and making headbands with their name spelled out in Kamji, or Japanese characters.
“The kids really seem to enjoy creating their own kites," Rothstein said. "They get to color and decorate and make a kite their way and then take it and run around it all day.”
The festival will honor Monty Weston, the former owner of shop in Seal Beach, who died in 2007. Without her, the festival wouldn't be what it is today, Rothstein said.
“It is one of those warm, feel-good, bring-your-family-to events," he said. "In all the craziness that goes on in the world, it is nice to grab your family, slow down, go to the beach, hang out and fly a kite.”