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Superman, Pikachu and Harry Potter star at kite festival

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If you want to get more excercise but simply detest going to the gym - there's another outdoor option that you might want to try: Flying a kite! Kite enthusiasts attending a festival in Taiwan claim the hobby can help improve your health and keep you active in old age. Among the popular characters that have taken to the skies are Pikachu, Harry Potter and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Is it a bird or is it a plane? no it's Superman - flying high above Baisha Bay.

For the kite lovers gathered here from across the globe the hobby is not just about having fun in the sun. Many at the annual Shimen International Kite Festival claim the pursuit can help them deal with ongoing health problems.

For Andreas Fishbacher, from Germany, kites are a lifelong passion. He's here flying his manta ray and blue clownfish kites, which he designed himself.

"I am flying kites since more than 20 years. And I was always interested in everything which is in the sky, planes as well as kites. And my mother was buying a kite for me when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and ever since then I was interested in kites. And ever since then, I design my own kites. I come up with the first small model, I make the first prototype, then I test fly it. And this is a really great feeling, if you create something yourself, and you see it up in the sky then flying later," said Andreas Fishbacher, participant from Germany.

The advantage of Baisha Bay is that it's windy - which keeps the kites flying high.

John Tan is here from Singapore, showcasing three colourful centipedes.

"It is all about retrieving the fun I had during childhood. And it feels really good to be in the nature. You make a kite. You release it in the air, and you feel really happy," said John Tan, participant from Singapore.

Also here is 88 year old Robert Yen. He is the oldest known participant to the festival, and has been flying kites for 80 years.

His kites feature parachutists with unusual body moves

"The sky is like a painting with all sorts of kites on it. It feels like you're painting a painting in the skies. It is so beautiful. I hope this festival could keep on for the coming years," said Robert Yen, participant from the US.

The first Shimen International Kite Festival was held in 2000.


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