Entertainment & Events

U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition Returns This Weekend

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The U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will return this weekend at Imperial Beach, with planned events for the entire three days.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the competition day of the tournament is the single largest one-day event in the state, drawing in an expected 350,000 people. The event has drawn national and international media attention, and has been the subject of a “National Geographic Explorer” episode. So, what can you expect from the festivities this year?


Friday, July 22

The weekend kicks off with the Sandcastle Dance at the Imperial Beach Boys and Girls Club. The event is for those ages 21 and older, and will feature live music.

Saturday, July 23

Saturday offers a street festival, where vendors will provide entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and lots of fun. Musical entertainment will also be provided, with acts selected from a wide variety of family friendly local acts.

Then, in the afternoon, the 23rd annual Kids-N-Kastles Competition will be held. Children 12 and younger can build sand sculptures in hopes of winning one of three categories: Castles, Best Sculpture and Creatures of the Sea. Sculpturing will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. Raffle prizes and winners will be announced at 4 p.m. on the main stage.

Sunday, July 24

On this day, the official U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will take place. Professional and amateur sand carving teams throughout the country will compete for prizes up to $5,000 in Masters and Amateur categories. The Masters category will award first and second prize to three-person teams and first, second and third prize to 10-person teams. The Amateur category has no limit on the amount of team members and will award prizes in five fields: Castles of Your Mind, Best Sculpture, Best Replica, Creatures of the Sea and Executive Sand Box, which is a business sponsored team.

Sandcastle building will take place from 9 a.m to 2 p.m., but due to high tide, castles will only be available to view until 4 p.m. Each team will be granted a 30’ by 30’ plot in which their sculptures must be contained.

Also attending the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will be the Foster Farms Foster Imposters. These chickens will be celebrating California-grown chicken and taking photos with the attendees while giving out free items such as t-shirts and hats, and even building a sandcastle of their own. Event-goers can also enter to win a custom California Grown tandem cruiser bike from Foster Farms, valued at more than $3,000.

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