Entertainment & Events

Imperial Beach Annual Sun & Sea Festival

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Every year, Imperial Beach hosts the Sun and Sea Festival. The free two-day event draws huge crowds and it’s IB’s biggest social event of the year. This year, the festival will take place on July 14th and 15th. Pirates In Paradise is the theme for this year’s Festival, and the event includes the Mayor’s Imperial Beach Pier Swim & Paddle, Mayor’s Breakfast at Pier Plaza, Pirates in Paradise Parade, Street festival, food fair and artisan booths and kiddie rides, a full schedule of live, local entertainment.

Of all the different events that make up the Sun and Sea Festival, there is none that draws a bigger crowd or drums up more enthusiasm than the Sandcastle Competition. To put it into perspective, last year 100,000 people visited the Sun & Sea Festival’s to take a look at the sandcastle creations. The sandcastles are created by world-class, award-winning builders who fashion some of the best sand creations on the West Coast in a fast-paced, six hour build.

There’s something about sandcastles that feel quintessentially Californian, and the creations at the IB Sun and Sea Festival are all a part of what makes summers in San Diego so magical. But here’s lots of other things to see at the festival before and after you scope out the sandcastles!

A pancake breakfast at Portwood Pier Plaza will kick off Saturday’s activities from 7 to 9 a.m. Attendees will get to enjoy freshly made pancakes served up by the Imperial Beach community members and elected officials.

A parade featuring local youth groups and civic organizations marching to show their Imperial Beach pride will proceed down Seacoast Drive at 9 a.m. Best viewing spot is at Portwood Pier Plaza and Evergreen Ave.

Attendees will have the opportunity to sample a variety of foods at the Certified Farmer’s Market and International Food Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Portwood Pier Plaza and along Seacoast Drive. In addition, many of the restaurants in Imperial Beach will be offering special menus and discounts for the day. The event will also feature a stage with musical entertainment, children’s activities, and crafts throughout the day.

Finding a good parking spot might be a bit challenging, but it could ease your pain to know that parking fees will be donated to fund local programs! During the event, many lots at local business will collect a small parking fee, and depending on which lot you park in, your money will be donated to a corresponding local program. Here’s the scoop:

Parking lot: Imperial Beach Charter West Campus
Location: 525 3rd Street
Fee to park: $10
Cause: Money collected supports school district programs via the SBUSD Education Foundation.

Parking lot: Mar Vista High School parking lot –Both entrances
Location: 505 Elm Ave. and 505 Imperial Beach Blvd.
Fee to park: $10
Cause: Supports Mar Vista High School Football Team

Parking lot: Imperial Beach Blvd. & Seacoast Drive (on corner and across from the IB Forum)
Location: 1079 Seacoast Drive
Fee to park: $20
Cause: Supports Mar Vista High School Water Polo team

From the parking to the sandcastles, the IB Sun and Sea Festival is a great way to spend your day! Come down and enjoy the entertainment and the sunshine at this popular summer event!

Lauren lives in OB with her French bulldog, Elvis Presley. She loves laughter and the great outdoors. You can contact her at [email protected].

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