The skies above Malmesbury were filled with parachuting teddy bears, six-sided Japanese fighting kites, colourful inflatables –including at one point a fish with a top hat – and the occasional plunging egg.
Despite grim sheets of rain throughout Saturday morning the fifth Malmesbury International Kite Festival got the town’s month-long carnival festivities off to a flyer over the weekend.
Several hundred people, from intrigued amateurs who had never flown a kite before to festival-hardened veterans, took part.
“It really does appeal to people of all ages,” said Jon Caton, chairman of the Malmesbury Kite Group.
“You just had to look around to see that.”
Saturday morning was something of a damp squib with a steady downpour but there was a decent breeze and a few hardy flyers got their kites into the air.
“We carried on with the programme as best we could,” said Mr Caton, 62, a kite enthusiast for 20 years.
The rain let up in the afternoon but by then many people had already decided not to venture to the Worthy’s farm site on a hill above Malmesbury.
However, they turned up in their hundreds the following day, a blustery, sunny Sunday. Experienced flyers included the Team Sky Flyers from Holland who unleashed an impressive and occasionally bizarre range of show kites.
Others came from Newcastle, the Midlands, Southampton and Bristol to take advantage of the site’s special appeal.
Mr Caton, an IT consultant, said: “It’s known as one of the country’s finest inland flying sites because there aren’t any obstructions – no trees, houses or pylons.”
Always a popular feature at the festival the teddy bear drop saw around 40 youngsters bring their teddies along to watch them ascend by kite before being parachuted down to safety.
This year a new event was introduced to the proceedings – parachuting eggs from kites.
The aim was to bring them gently to the ground without so much as a crack and much to the organisers surprise several participants managed to achieve it.
Mr Caton said: “It was a bit of an unknown quantity. People used their ingenuity to drop their eggs in whatever way they wanted – and quite a few succeeded without breaking them.”