A warm day and a light breeze brought out families and kite enthusiasts to the seventh annual Bel Air Kite Festival Saturday morning.
By the time the annual event officially began at 10 a.m., about 20 families were already scurrying about Rockfield Park, trying to catch the wind with their colorful contraptions. An hour later, the crowd had doubled.
When one thinks of kite flying, the first thought that probably pops into the mind is that of young children holding strings attached to soaring paper kites.
While there was plenty of that Saturday, the "big kids" were also out to play.
Paul LaMasters definitely looked like a big kid as he made his kite dance in tune to the music playing from a nearby tent.
The kite - two large, striped triangles attached to each other like an open diamond - was attached to four strings which LaMasters, a Germantown resident, controlled with two handles.
It moved its "wings" much like a bird does and dove close to the ground, barely touching it before scooping back up into the sky.
Such control only comes with years of practice, dedication and passion, which LaMasters has plenty of.
Starting off as a way to score dates in college, the professional kite flier has been honing his craft since the mid-'70s. LaMasters has also been with the kite club Wings Over Washington since its inception in 1996.
LaMasters explained that while his wife, who wasn't there Saturday morning, is a sport kite flier, he flies to music and chooses his moves based on what tune is playing.
He also competes and travels all over the world to show off his skills.
On the other end of the kite flying spectrum was Sandra Tooman, who was there with her husband and 7-year-old twins.
Tooman and her family, who live in Bel Air, have been coming for six years.
"It's so much fun," she said. The mom, who was fiddling with her own purple, green, black and white kite, said that one year they came in rain boots just to participate.
"It's fun, it's nice to be outside and it's a nice family activity," Tooman said.
JoAnn Theys and her son, Jack, of Forest Hill, also brought their own kite.
Kites were provided in a variety of colors at no charge for those who didn't have one, but many brought their own.
Jack, 9, was busy flying a black kite with two pirate skulls on it, a birthday gift from his uncle.
"It's a good excuse to get the kids out and run," the mom the said as she watched her son run back and forth, trying to catch the wind.
Leigh Horan, who recently moved to Bel Air from California, was just happy that the town offered such an event.