Here’s the long overdue write-up for the Mersing International Fly Fest which was held from the 22nd to 25th Sept in the coastal town of Dataran Kembara, Mersing, in the state of Johor in Malaysia. This is the first time that the team has been invited to this relatively new kite festival, organized by the Mersing town council and the Mersing kite team.
Kite fliers from a total of 14 countries including Malaysia, Singapore, France, Columbia, Turkey, China, Spain, Estonia, Russia, Australia, Belgium, Thailand, Indonesia and India attending this event. Given the proximity of the location of the festival to Singapore and in terms of schedule to the next festival in Bintulu, Borneo, the overseas fliers used Singapore as a temporary base to travel to/from Mersing and Borneo.
We met up with the group arriving at Singapore Changi Airport on the evening of 21st Sep and took a coach ride into Johor, Malaysia for a late dinner, before arriving at our hotel around 1am on Friday morning. The 3+hrs coach ride provided much shuteye relief for our overseas friends who had taken 15+hrs long flights from their respectively countries.
The first day of the event was spent touring the area (Pasir Landun campsite, local markets and enjoying the famous Railway Coffee). This year’s event was held at a new location along the beach just north of previous year’s due to ongoing construction at the old location. Huge tents for the fliers were set up by the beach, complete with fans and ice-cold drinks to provide some respite from the tropical heat.
The real flying began on Saturday morning but wind was very light and minimal, coming off-shore. The opening ceremony kicked off in the early afternoon, followed by a quad-line kites megafly. Sadly, dark clouds began to gather in the mid-afternoon and thundery showers soon followed. This is not unexpected since it has been raining in the mid to late afternoon much all week in Singapore too. The prolonged drizzle and lightning that followed rendered almost all kite flying impossible*, except for some lightwind kites and a couple of brave souls :P.
Whatever the weather took away on Saturday as returned in double on Sunday. Winds picked up in the late morning and grew to a steady 6-10mph onshore. All the big inflatables took to the sky and painted the whole beach in a wide array of colors with the wind banners and wind-gardens. The crowds were out in full force and were enjoying the event as much as the kite fliers. Kites that were a rare sight included the El drac, a lizard like sculpture in Barcelona and the Janggan traditional kite from Indonesia.
There were also performances from dual-line fliers and quad-line teams throughout Sunday, ending with a quad-line mega fly. Here’s a link to the mega-fly on Sunday, captured by Erich Chew of Singapore.
However, the good times need to come to an end and it was time to pack up the kites as the evening approaches. Everyone had a good time throughout the festival and the good spirits were shown in video snippets during the farewell dinner on Sunday evening, where each flier was also presented with a token of appreciation. Most of the Singaporean fliers departed on Sunday evening, while the rest of the group departed Mersing on Monday, back to Singapore for a day’s rest before embarking on the next stage of the journey to Bintulu for the Borneo International kite festival.
The team would like to thank the Mersing town council and all involved for their wonderful hospitality and congratulate them on hosting a successful event, especially to Mr Mohd Husairy and the Mersing Kite team for their great work. We hope to be back next year, looking forward to a bigger event in 2018! Stay safe and good health everyone!
* It is extremely dangerous to fly kites when there is lightning nearby as the wet lines and kites serves as a recipe for disaster in our tropical climate.