Ready for take off . . . Erika Pearson, eight, plays with a Bols balloon at the Swindon Kite Festival held at Lydiard Park at the weekend.

AROUND 3,000 people went to Lydiard Park over the weekend for Swindon's 13th annual kite festival.

Giant novelty kites, stunt displays, trade stalls and kite-making workshops were among the attractions.

A blustery Saturday, though chilly for spectators, was good news for kite-flyers.

And yesterday, though the wind had dropped, the kinder weather brought in more spectators.

According to festival organiser Dave Robinson, the optimum wind speed for kite-flying is about 12mph.

His group, the White House Kite-flyers, organised the event.

He said: "We are just a kite group who wanted to bring our hobby to a wider audience.

"I've enjoyed kite flying since I was a kid and it's stayed with me ever since. The appeal is relaxation. I'm a sales rep and under pressure all through the week, so this is something to relax with at weekends."

The White House Kite-Flyers have 150 members and meet at Barbury Castle on the second Sunday of each month.