Giant kites guided by professional team "Go Big or Go Home" fly through the air during the festival.
Giant kites guided by professional team Go Big or Go Home fly through the air during the Fest of Tails. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Using a bright pink marker, 7-year-old Ruby Martinez scrawled her name in big letters, carefully placing them around the butterflies and flowers she colored on the sail of her handmade kite.

On the other side of the kite-making table, volunteer Michael Soto worked around her, placing reinforcements around the holes in the plastic where the string would tie through, helping the kite maintain its sled-like structure.

“You just need to make sure it’s strong enough that the string doesn’t cut through the plastic, because a kite can get away quick if the wind is good enough,” Soto said.

All it took was one small gust of wind (and a little help from her mother) for Ruby’s kite to jump into the sky, joining dozens of others soaring above McAllister Park on Saturday for the 12th annual Fest of Tails Kite Festival and Dog Fair, sponsored by the San Antonio Parks Foundation. Ruby shrieked with joy as it flew steadily above her. “I can’t believe it made it all the way up,” she said excitedly.

Nearly 100 kites take flight simultaneously at McAllister Park during the Fest of Tails Kite Festival and Dog Fair.
Nearly 100 kites take flight simultaneously at McAllister Park during the Fest of Tails Kite Festival and Dog Fair. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

On the ground, dogs dressed as bunnies, sushi, and royalty paraded around, as animal-friendly vendors lined the walking path selling products for pets, including baked goods infused with cannabidiol oil, handmade clothing and leashes, and beds and accessories.

A more formal Pooch Parade, part of the festival’s entertainment, included awards for best-dressed dog and the dog that most resembles its owner.

Approximately 8,000 people attend the Fest of Tails each year to celebrate the arrival of spring, according to the San Antonio Parks Foundation.

Winds blowing at about 9 mph Saturday afternoon created prime kite weather for the hundreds of people pouring in and out of the park, making it easy to overlook the temperature dropping from a sunny 82 degrees earlier in the week to a cool 58.

Carol Tills attended the festival with her dog Miller, a black lab mix, and said the pair also went in 2018. “It’s a fun thing I can do with my friends where we can all bring our dogs and let them have fun, too.”

In addition to the pooch-friendly offerings, the festival boasted amusement rides for their human counterparts, as well as pet and tree adoptions, food trucks, craft tables, and live music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.