A History of the OB Kite Festival

by on March 15, 2021 · 6 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

Editordude: Eric DuVall, president of the OB Historical Society, has written another OB history piece, published today in the OB – Point Loma Monthly. (My only quibble with the fine article is Eric’s spelling of “OBcean” – he spelled it “Obecian”. In 2014, the OB Planning Board and friends came to a resolution on the oft-misspelled title of OB citizens, and determined it was “OBcean” – where OB and the ocean meet.)

By Eric DuVall / March 15, 2021

The blustery breezes of March have always blown some added anticipation and excitement into the hearts of Ocean Beach children. In fact, all true Obcecians feel the same way, for we know that those March gusts portend the arrival of kite season! And in the kite capital of the country, that is no small thing.

So return with us now to a time not so long ago — those simpler days of, say, the 1980s, an era before entertainment and experiences had become “virtual” and when the Kite Parade still proceeded proudly down the middle of Newport Avenue.

We had a real store-bought kite, “Sleeping Beauty,” if I am not mistaken. But my 5-year-old daughter nonetheless spent a good 45 minutes on the floor of the OB Recreation Center making and decorating her own small kite, which was “guaranteed to fly.” (No such guarantees existed in my childhood, but that is another story.)

She also had decorated her tricycle with flowers and crepe-paper streamers on the playground of Ocean Beach Elementary School — the better to ride that trike in the Kite Parade down to the beach. I was recruited to accompany her along those three blocks, as she was quite nervous about being in the middle of the procession by herself. The Kite Parade was a big thing at the time, and there were hundreds of people along the street, all eager to vicariously enjoy the excitement of the children and their kites.

As a kid, I had been happy — proud, in fact — to walk in that parade with my kites. But as an adult, I felt like a dork. That’s OK — I wanted my kid to experience the fun and excitement of the parade.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie March 15, 2021 at 10:07 am

What I like about this photo is that it shows my uncle’s OB Camera store – 3rd from the corner going east. Frank Webber owned the storefront for decades and I worked there summers and holidays beginning in 1962.


Tracy February 16, 2023 at 5:48 pm

Dear Frank,

I’d been looking for photo’s of the OB Camera store for years! I bought my first “serious” camera there, a Minolta SRT-101 and it changed my life, as I was addicted to photography every since. If you have any other photo’s I would be very grateful for copies. It was a great little store and everyone really knew their stuff!
Regards, Tracy F.


Frank Gormlie February 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

Which store? When it was on Newport Ave or around the corner on Cable?


Tracy February 17, 2023 at 12:26 am

I remember both stores! But my first camera was purchased on Newport Ave. There was a younger “Hippy Chick” that worked there and she was so knowledgeable about camera’s. I was so excited about my new camera! I made my living from photography, so it was a memorable purchase for me.
How long did you work there?


Frank Gormlie February 17, 2023 at 3:26 pm

Tracy – No, I don’t have any photos. My uncle Frank moved his store on Newport across Cable to a larger site on Newport, a former pharmacy. I worked there on holidays and summers mainly. My mother ended up working there fulltime when my dad lost his job at Convair.


Tracy February 17, 2023 at 11:15 pm

Hey, my dad worked at Convair too for a while.
Well, I’ll just have to keep looking for photo’s of the camera stores. Nice chatting and virtually meeting you!

Kind regards,


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