The Tobago Annual Flying Colours Kite Festival will go ahead as planned on December 30 at the Plymouth Recreation Ground, though prizes will be reduced due to funding challenges.
“Now we cannot get any monies for prizes, that is the challenge that we are having because everybody is saying that they don’t have the money. We will still go on and see what we can do… there will be some prizes but not the big prizes as we have had in the past because they are saying that we are in a recession. The prize monies would be cut back but we would not be cutting back on the festival,” said founder of the event, Valerie Critten-Stewart.
Critten-Stewart said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has been one of the major sponsors of the festival in the past but has provide no support over the last three years.
“In the last three years we have received no funding from the THA for the festival. This year we really didn’t waste time to ask because for the last three years they blanked us,” she said.
Having started the competition, as a festival, in 1999, Critten-Stewart said it was her way of giving back to her adopted island, Tobago.
“I came to Tobago as a foreigner and while living here in Plymouth, it was a November and I saw the kids on the recreation ground making kites and I asked them what they were doing and they said that they were making kites for Christmas. So, I just thought why not do a little kite flying competition for them, this is while not knowing that kite flying was indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.
“I just wanted to do something for the kids but the day we had the first kite flying festival, I looked up and I saw a whole lot of kites coming into Plymouth, I did not expect that. Over the years, people have always come out to the event,” she said.
Kites are judged on design, theme, duration of flight, height as well as size in different age groups and monetary prizes are awarded accordingly, Critten-Stewart said.