Imperial Beach The Port of San Diego, the longest running sponsor of the US Sandcastle competition, has stepped into the title sponsor slot for this year’s event to be held Sunday, July 11 on the beach and along Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. The “grand-daddy” of sandcastle building contests takes place on Sunday, July 11, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is open to Professional (Master) and Amateur teams. More than forty teams with giant-size sculptures are judged at the same time and presented prizes and titles at the 4:00 p.m. awards ceremony.
“The US Open Sandcastle is the largest one day event in the California,” said Mike Bixler, Imperial Beach Port Commissioner. “It is a flagship event for the City of Imperial Beach and of the Port Cities, and we have generously supported the community with its efforts all of these years. As I always say, Imperial Beach, paradise within reach.”
“San Diego region can be proud of this long running event as we have never charged an admission fee,” said Bud Harbin, chairperson, Sandcastle Association. “We hope that the citizens of San Diego and all of the tourists that visit us return every year to see these inventive sand carvings.”
The sandcastle competition takes place only on Sunday but there are community events taking place throughout the entire weekend.
On Saturday, July 10 the vendor festival includes “kiddie” rides in three different areas of the venue. At 7:00 a.m. a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce kicks off the local events. From 10:00 a.m. to noon, the Sandcastle Parade starts at Mar Vista High School and runs along Seacoast and Palm Avenues. The parade theme this year is Building a Better Tomorrow and the parade Marshall is local architect Bud Webb. At 2:00 p.m. the Kids-N-Castles competition runs until 3:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the Imperial Beach Optimist Club. The Kids-N-Castles competition does not give spectators a chance to see the full-scale sandcastles that are built only on Sunday. A free fireworks display is held after dark and is sponsored by the Sand-castle committee and the City of Imperial Beach.
On Sunday, there are two Masters divisions. Division A, includes ten-person teams vying for the ultimate title and a first place cash prize of $5,000. Second place wins $3,000 and third place is awarded $2,000. Division B - Masters, includes three-person teams that compete for $2,500 for first place and $1,500 for second.
“Sunday’s Masters’ sculptures are tremendous, however, the amateur teams often surprise us with highly creative work,” said Harbin. The Amateur Categories are based on specific themes. The category called Castle of Your Mind must be a structural design; the Best Replica category requires each team to recreate a castle from an object, picture or drawing brought on-site for judging; Best Sculpture, is an open design category; Creatures of the Sea category includes real or imaginary creatures, and the Executive Sandbox, are business-sponsored teams where at least three team members must be employed by the sponsor. Awards are given $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place, $200 for third place and $100 for fourth.