Despite light breezes, kite competition at Charlestown soars on Saturday

The wind wasn't cooperating on Saturday morning, so 5-year-old Nathaniel Kubik ran "super fast" to create enough lift to launch his blue, yellow and red kite.

Pumping his legs as hard as he could paid off as the Severn resident earned first place for keeping his kite in the air the longest at the first kite flying competition on the Charlestown retirement community campus.

About two dozen kite fliers joined Nathaniel in attempting to defy the light breeze and send their kites, some homemade but many store-bought, high above the open spaces of the campus on Maiden Choice Lane.

Some of the kites never made it off the ground, but still had a chance to win prizes.

The event, a collaboration between Charlestown and the Rotary Clubs of Catonsville and Glen Burnie, had three judges recognize participants in each of the three age groups with prizes for the highest flying, longest flying, most unusual and most creative kites.

Most of the participants, who ranged in age from pre-school to retired, had a chance to see their toys soar, if only for a short while.

Using the same kite as her grandson, Carmen Zajac won first place for keeping her kite in the air the longest for her age group, though it had only one other entry.

Zajac, who has lived in Charlestown for 1.5 years, said she hadn't flown a kite since about 30 years ago, when her children were young and would lose their paper kites in the rose bushes.

"My husband (John Zajac) tells me to go fly a kite, but I never do," she joked.

"I think it's terrific to add to the programs," she said. "It's good to see the seniors participate in things. It's good morale for the campus."

Dozens of seniors sat in chairs beneath trees that shielded them from a bright sun, watching elementary school-aged children attempt to get their kites off the ground.

Clay Livi, a fifth-grader at Hillcrest Elementary School in Catonsville, had some success , winning the award for highest flying kite in his division.

His father, Ken Livi, returned recently from a business trip to China with a $5 toy made up of 25 mini kites with red and green Chinese opera masks on them.

Though many competitors had to run to keep their kite in the air, Ken's only needed one short burst to get the paper fans in the air.

He needed his father's help to bring the kites down.

Six-year-old Brianna Boettcher, of Linthicum, didn't have as much luck with her homemade kite.

She and her friend Patrick Dyson, 17, a senior at Lansdowne High School, made a multi-colored kite, but the lack of strong gusts meant that it never stayed in the air for long.

It wasn't a total loss, though, as Brianna won first place for having the most unusual kite.

"I think we're going to go out again, the next time it's really windy," Dyson said.

About an hour after the event began at 10 a.m., the final participants had flown their kites and the dozens of spectators dispersed.

Some of the last to leave were Charlestown residents who had dressed as clowns for the day, making balloon animals and kids of all ages laugh.

The competition's organizer Pat Kasuda, a three-year Charlestown resident, said the day went well, especially for the first time, as she walked across the field to clean up.

"I think we'll have even more participation from residents next year," she said. "It was a nice group of people watching the event and that's super special."

Just after she talked about holding next year's event earlier in the year in hopes of having more gusts, the wind picked up.

"Look at that wind now," she said with a laugh.

This story has been updated.

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