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Spring is in the air

Nothing but gray skies greeted crowds that came to fly kites March 27 in Washington, D.C. The 33rd annual Smithsonian Kite Festival was held on the National Mall, near the scaffolding-shrouded Washington Monument (it's being refurbished).

The theme for this year's competition was "A Century of Flight -Looking Back." Featured were replicas of the kite and glider/kite used by the Wright brothers in their experiments in 1899 and 1900. Wilbur went up in the tethered glider to test how to maneuver in the air. Wilbur and Orville's Wright Flyer, now on display at Washington's Air and Space Museum, successfully flew in 1903.

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Kites were awarded prizes for the most beautiful, most thematic, and most patriotic, as well as for stunt-flying and other categories. All kites had to be handmade, flown by their creators, and capable of flying 100 feet in the air for one minute. But if you just wanted to go fly a kite, you could do that, too.

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