GRAPEVINE -- The assignment sounded easy enough.
Take a big clump of pizza dough, roll it out and toss it until it stretches to the perfect consistency.
But students of the Roma's Pizza Toss Academy learned otherwise.
"It's awesome, but it's a challenge," said Maddilynn Warren, 11, of North Richland Hills. "It's harder than it looks."
The first-time event drew some 200 children ages 5 to 10 over the weekend to the 28th annual Grapevine Main Street Days, which bills itself as the unofficial kickoff to summer.
The festival also included the unveiling of the 9-foot-tall glockenspiel characters known as the would-be train robbers. These animatronic figures will emerge at noon and 6 p.m. each day to act out a fictitious train robbery, complete with gunfight.
Festivalgoers crowded into the Pizza Piazza to sample and vote on the area's best pizzas.
At the academy, pizza-makers-in-training learned how to flatten dough with their fingers, shape it into a disk and toss it into the air with their knuckles.
Chloe Warren, 9, Maddilynn's sister, said throwing it was easy. Catching it was another matter.
"The wind makes the dough go everywhere," Chloe said.
Joey Schneider, co-owner of Palio's in Grapevine, recalled that as a child, he watched in fascination as chefs tossed dough at a local pizzeria. So he got the idea to give kids a taste of that excitement.
"Secretly, every kid wants to have a food fight," he said. "This is a socially acceptable way of doing that."
Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056