The skies over the Shangumugham beach on Saturday saw a ‘lost sport’ being tugged back to life as a face of a Theyyam artiste glared, a shark ferociously glided, and a hawk made of fabric flew with an uncanny resemblance of the real thing, silhouetted against a dull grey backdrop.

The threatening grey of the sky, which the evening unexpectedly brought in, only aided the International Kite Festival to take off in style, marking the celebration of the Travancore Carnival.

Among the traditional kites, soared impressive specimens that showed off the craftsmanship of the team from the Kite Life Foundation, based in Kochi. Close to a lakh small kites were being distributed to visitors and the others, with their elaborate tails stretching to 30 feet. Despite the shy wind that occasionally strayed into the beach, splashes of reds, blues, and yellows managed to stay afloat and drew crowds of beach-goers to the carnival, jointly organised by the International Centre for Intellectual Training and Empowerment (INCITE) and the State Department of Information and Public Relations.

Through the modes of art, culture, and a general air of festivity, the six-day long event seeks to draw attention to issues including cancer awareness, women’s safety, and environment conservation. Alongside these more grave issues is this lighter campaign, reminiscing the elation of making something fly. Rajesh Nair, founder of the Kite Life Foundation, had bags packed with 15 large kites, including two from a Theyyam collection.