Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Town Monday: Sand Castle Competition



For a weekend each July, hundreds of people flock to Imperial Beach in San Diego County for the U.S. Open Sand Castle Competition. This is a huge affair, and contestants come from all over the country. And, just so you're up on local lingo, we call Imperial Beach I.B. for short. (Useless trivia: Actor Matthew Modine went to high school in IB.)

Okay, back to the sand castles. It's a whole weekend festival with a parade and street music and a couple of sound stages and vendors and a pancake breakfast on the beach and fireworks. Seacoast Drive is closed to traffic. There's an Annual Kids 'N Kastles competition for youngsters 12 and under.

This past summer (July 14-18), the competition behind the competition was the big battle between a local team (Team I.B. Posse) and an Orange County team (Team Archisand). Ooooh. Team Archisand had taken first place six out of the last eight years.

BUT NOT IN 2008, when our local team wowed judged with their sand sculpture of "a gas tank that's actually attacking patrons, and we got an electric car that's coming to the rescue." (This description is from Leonard Gonzales, enthusiastic I.B. Posse team member.)

Teams at the Masters Level take take sand sculpting seriously. Not that they aren't having fun as well. But, for example, they choose a design weeks in advance, then divide the design into sections and assign different team members to sections. Next, they hold practice sessions. When it comes to the big day, teams have from 8:30 am when the air horn blasts to 1:30 pm to build their masterpiece. They're racing against time and the sun and the tide. (Odd trivia: Something I never thought of, but builders are working so fast and furiously that there have been shovel injury incidents where people have actually had to drop out of the competition.)

The building takes place on Imperial Beach near Seacoast Drive and the pier. Spectator tickets are free. Parking is tough. But for a donation to the football team, you can park at Mar Vista High School on Coronado Avenue near Fifth Street.

For more info: 619-424-6663 and here's the website (which is currently under construction):
US Open Sandcastles


Oh, I forgot to mention that there are cash prizes. So, you could go play with a trowel and plastic straws and makeup brushes in your kid's sandbox. A win could pay for your trip out here.

Now, you should all trot off to Travis Erwin, the guy who spearheads My Town Mondays. He'll have a list of links to other Mondayers.

I'm leaving you with a shot of an amazing sand sculpture.

Sources:
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/16878188/detail.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080710/news_1w10castles.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Beach,_California
http://www.aroundandaboutsandiego.com/imperialbeach.html

28 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely works of art. And ephermal.

Laura said...

WOW - those are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We even have sand sculptures here in the Midwest. And ice sculpture in winter.

Travis Erwin said...

I saw a show on the travel channel about these competitions. What the artists do is amazing.

preTzel said...

I do not have an ounce of creativity when it comes to creating works of art with sand. I can make a great impression of my body when I lay on it though. :)

Thanks for sharing Barrie.

JenKneeBee said...

This is one of the coolest thing I've ever seen. SO AWESOME!

Barbara Martin said...

Interesting, I looked at a site in Nova Scotia where people were building sandcstles by the ocean; and here you are posting about them. I would think the consistency of the moist sand has to be kept the same or it would dissolve or crumble as it dries. Who knows? Thanks for sharing this. I liked it.

Amy said...

Oregon has an annual sandcastle competition, but I've never been.

Those photos are AWESOME. I'm going to have to make a point to go next year.

laughingwolf said...

amazing what they can do with wet sand....

Angela said...

Wow, awesome pics! Looks like it was a lot of fun.

Sarakastic said...

When someone asks me what I do for a living I'd love to be able to say "I build sandcastles"

TJ Brown said...

Those are amazing, barry. I have seen similar amazing things done with ice as well.
Teri

Alyson said...

That is so cool! It's one of those things that I can't imagine how they do it.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

How fun! I've been to Scheveningen in The Netherlands three times this year, and I still managed to miss the sandcastle competition. I did see some neat sand sculptures in one of the plazas across from the Binnehof when I was there at the end of July. VERY detailed and amazing!

Beth said...

Wow! Those pics are amazing.

Larramie said...

This has always been a "To Do" on my Wishlist!

Michele said...

It's so amazing that the teams are able to sculpt those works of art in so few hours. I've never been to a sand sculpture competition, only seen the work after the fact--so cool!

Melanie Avila said...

Very cool! My hometown (Grand Haven, Michigan) has sand castle building contests but I haven't seen them in years. Fun pics!

keri mikulski :) said...

Wow! Unbelievable. Such an amazing talent. :) I can't even get the bucket of sand to stay upright after I flip it over.

lyzzydee said...

I don't get it, I have seen these creation, how do they make the sand stick together?? I can't even get a basic sand castle to stay erect!!!!

Patti said...

it's shocking what can be done with sand...

Eileen said...

There is an amazing sand sculpture contest out here too in Harrison Hot Springs. They had amazing stuff this year.

debra said...

These are incredibly beautiful and cool, Barrie. Thanks for posting about them.

deboradale said...

I can't even up-end a bucket of wet sand without half of it collapsing. What amazing talent these people have. I would love to be among that group of spectators in your first photo and watch them build with my own eyes. Those sand sculptures (especially that castle) are incredibly beautiful.

~Debbie

Carleen Brice said...

Very cool!

The Anti-Wife said...

Fabulous, but where's the picture of the gas tank attacking the patrons?

Barrie said...

Hey The Anti-Wife: I did find one pic of the gas tank, etc. but, for the life of me, could not get it to upload to blogger.

Sara Hantz said...

OMG chocolaes with your cover on it.... what an awesome idea!!!