Opening Day at the Races arrived Wednesday and more than 43,000 people attended.
Crowds returned to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Wednesday for hats, horses and the unofficial start to the sundress season.
Guys donned fedoras and suspenders, while long maxi dresses were popular for the ladies - in addition to hats.
One after another, each hat contest participant explained the reason for their design or theme.
A number of different items were used for the hats including fresh or silk flowers, paper, ribbon, feathers and even stuffed animals or toys.
Construction takes from hours to days and even weeks.
Natalie from Hemet was wearing a hat that was approximately 25 pounds.
Her hat featuring a television screen and several dolls watching the races took her between 3 weeks and a month to make.
The prize categories range from Horses and Racing to Outrageous and English Garden.
Louisa from Las Vegas was a first-time participating said she has been waiting to attend Opening Day but has been busy in the past.
She entered into the Most Glamorous category.
“I love making hats,” she said. “I’ve been fiddling with them for awhile. It’s always been a fun hobby so this is a great thing.”
In the end, Chris Banner (pictured right) won the Big Crosby Grand Prize and the Best Racing category at the Opening Day hat contest. His colorful creation included a giant replica of the racetrack, complete with mini horses, flowers and the words "And Away They Go." Banner is the only person to ever win the gran prize twice -- he also won in 1999.
Kayla Carnevale from San Diego won for Most Glamorous, Katie Helen Stockinger from San Diego won in the Funniest category, Amber Thorn of Costa Mesa claimed the Best Flowers prize and Kristi Courtois won for Best Fascinator.
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