LOS ANGELES – Elevating a 40 foot long traditional Guatemalan kite known as a barrilete was just one of the challenges at the Festival Chapin Los Angeles.
Erecting the flag took about three hours, but the first step was taking it out of this box. Salomon Sactic brought the box with him from his hometown of Santiago Sacatepequez Antigua in Guatemala.
Sactic says it took him and a team of people about three months to design and put together the kite. He has been making barriletes since he was 4 years old, but this is first time he has come to the United States to help elevate one in Los Angeles.
According to Sactic, the intention of the kite is to send a message to loved ones who have passed away. They are traditionally flown or displayed during All Saints Day celebrations in Guatemala.
Typically the flags are elevated using all natural materials like bamboo and wood but here, they had to improvise.
Rigoberto García Junior is a welder who helped get the kite into the air.
“You never know if Mother Nature decides to send some wind and it can knock it over so we really got to secure it down,” said García.
Once Garcia and Sactic made sure the kite was secure, several volunteers helped elevate it, lifting it up slowly until they finally got it upright. Sactic says it’s really remarkable to see a barrilete of this magnitude here in Los Angeles. He feels pride knowing he is helping share a bit of his country’s traditions here in Los Angeles