Entertainment & Events

Sandcastle competition hits Imperial Beach Today

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Get your sand pails ready! Whoever said sandcastle building was for kids must not have known about a 30- year tradition.

From Aug. 7 to 8, the 30th Annual U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition presented by Cox Communications comes back to San Diego’s Imperial Beach. It is considered to be the largest sandcastle-building competition in the country and provides entertainment each year for thousands; the event officially began yesterday with a community breakfast and a dinner-dance in the evening.

“We are excited to celebrate this 30th milestone and be able to return to the classic ideals that inspired the competition,” said Committee Chairperson Debbie Longley. “We’d like to introduce the competition to a new generation of sandcastle builders in Imperial Beach, welcome returning participants that have made USOSC a tradition in their families and invite new attendees to experience classic Southern California. It’s not just a day at the beach,” reported the website.

For its 30th anniversary, the website reports the event has added a new category called Creative Castles, Classic California, in the amateur competition, which also includes: Castles of Your Mind, Best Sculpture, Creatures of the Sea and Executive Sandbox. Participants will be asked to create sand creations that depicting the classic California beaches and experiences.

For a minimal sign-up fee, kids 12 and younger can participate on teams in the Kids ‘N Kastles competition and be eligible to win prizes. Three categories make up this competition: Castles, Best Sculpture and Creatures of the Sea. Registered teams can build from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and winners are announced at 4:00 p.m., the website said.

The sand masters arrive on Sunday, Aug. 8 and amateurs and professionals take to the sand between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to create life-size masterpieces in an attempt to claim their share of more than $21,000 in cash prizes. Professional teams compete in the Masters category, which is divided between three- and 10-person teams. Amateur teams compete in an open competition divided into several categories including the all- new category — Creative Castles, Classic California.

Make sure to check out all sculptures throughout the weekend before 4 p.m., when the tide comes in and washes the work away.

There will also be a street fair on Seacoast Drive featuring more than 140 vendors with food, non-alcoholic beverages, art, jewelry and clothing. On Pier Plaza stage, local bands will provide entertainment throughout the weekend. The street fair will be open 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

While the event should be fun, please do not bring these prohibited items: alcoholic beverages, bicycles and skateboards, or any wheeled devices except for strollers and wheelchairs, and all pets (except service animals), the Web site requests.

Admission to the festival is free. The U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition is a nonprofit event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Beach.

The event began with 30,000 and now attracts more than 325,000 over a three-day weekend. The competition started in 1980, when a group of Imperial Beach residents decided to form a committee and host the first event after being inspired by a similar competition in their sister city of White Rock, British Columbia, according to the site.

Photos from wlodi and endbradley via Flickr.


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