Sandcastle Competition returns in the
Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival
Sandcastle Competition is typically held on Friday and Saturday in the middle of July.
In 2012, the US Open Sandcastle Competition was cancelled due to lack of funds and community volunteers. By 2013, new organizers initiated the "Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival". 2014 brings good news as organizers continue the Sun & Sea Festival and re-initiate the Master's sandcastle building competition!
2014: Sandcastle Competition is back! July 18 & 19, 2014
Also included is the Kids 'n Kastles building competition, a parade, entertainment, children's crafts, a farmers market, and international foods.
For almost 30 years, amateur and professional artists have wow'ed thousands of people with their sand art. Not just pail & shovel projects, but huge creations which takes tons of sand! Enlarge photo.
It all started in 1980 when a group of locals organized a sandcastle building event. Over the years, the event has gained momentum and has attracted Master sandcastle artists from all over USA and Canada. Some years, the sandcastle competition has over 325,000 visitors and the city budgets $180,000 to host the event.
Fireworks canceled due to budget cuts; however, the parade has returned. Donations are always welcomed: this includes monetary donations as well as volunteer efforts.
Sun & Sea Festival
Friday, mid July:
Exhibition Sandcastle on Display
Saturday mid July:
Farmer's Market and
International Food Fair
Kidz 'N Kastles
Children 12 and under are invited to create their own sand sculptures in the area adjacent to the Imperial Beach pier. This activity will be held on Saturday afternoon from 12 to 4 pm.
- 12 noon: Team Check-in.
- 1 - 2:30 pm: Sandcastle building.
- 2:30 - 3 pm: Judging.
- 3 - 4 pm: Stage presentations.
$10 registration fee per team. This kid-friendly event is sponsored by the Port of San Diego and the Optimists Club of Imperial Beach. Thanks Optimists!
The Farmer's Market and Street Fair will be along Seacoast Drive on Saturday. Here you will find live entertainment, arts & crafts, food, jewelry, beach paraphernalia, and merchandise from local vendors.
The Sun & Sea Festival hopes to generate a family-friendly atmosphere and promote local vendors. Be advised: alcoholic beverages are not allowed at the Street Fair or at the beach.
Get your shovels ready: cash prizes amount to over $17,000! You can enter into one of many divisions:
It's not easy to win. Participants must arrive between 6:30 am to 8:30 am. Competition begins at 9 am where you can sculpt, build, mold, and carve mounds of sand into a piece of art. You must be done by 2 pm. Judges rule the results of your 5 hours of labor, and then by 4 pm, the tide comes in and all the sandcastles collapse back into the ocean. Award Ceremony will be from 4 to 5 pm. Enlarge photo.
As in all games, there are rules. Only sand sculpture team members area allowed in their designated 30' x 30' plot. Only natural and biodegradable materials can be used. This includes be seaweed, seashells, food coloring, and flour. Adhesives and perservatives are not allowed. Only hand tools are allowed (garden and household implements; shovels and buckets); power tools not allowed.
Location, Parking, and Price
Sun and Sea Festival
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
The Sun and Sea Festival is a VERY busy event. If you want to see castles being built, arrive at about 2 or 3 pm. If you only want to see the finished sand sculptures, arrive between 3 and 4 pm.
If you want to find parking easily, arrive at 10 am. Otherwise, expect to circle around and around and hope for to find a spot. Parking is so limited that local residents may charge you $10 to park at their home garage.
The Event is free and you will only need to pay for the food and crafts that you purchase. Enlarge photo.
Please note: many visitors are expected to attend this event. For the safety for all involved, these items are not permitted at the street fair or at the sandcastle event:
- pets & animals of any kind
(except service animals)
- wheeled devices
(except strollers and wheelchairs)
- weapons of any kind
- alcoholic beverages