On Saturday morning, we woke up late, skipped breakfast and got on the freeway towards Imperial Beach. I finally got to put on my new bikini top, looking forward to a hot day at the seashore. This time, we didn’t take our books or the beach chairs, only a bottle of sunscreen and the desire to see some sand art. We headed to the 30th Annual US Open Sandcastle Competition.
Every year, teams from all over the country arrive at Imperial Beach to produce a variety of artistic creations from sand. The event is held over a weekend, with the official sand castle competition on Sunday. More than 300,000 visitors come by to admire the results of the artists’ imagination and creativity. This was not hard to believe on Sunday when the sculptures were finished; I don’t think I have ever seen a beach this busy. Still, the atmosphere was pleasant and everyone seemed to politely take turns at the view point by the sand figures.
Impressed by the artists’ creativeness and skills, we slowly moved from one creation to another – a depiction of current events (Oil Spill), funny figures (Chicks in Bikinis), sea creatures, sleeping beauties, gigantic mouse, Sponge Bob, mini Las Vegas and… of course, magic castles.
We walked around and took lots of pictures but not before we tasted (or stuffed ourselves with?) some of the street fair food. With over 140 vendors lining the street of Imperial Beach, there was plenty to choose from. Besides crafts and jewellery, visitors are tempted by the smell of barbequed meat, fresh fries and corn on the cob. We had our usual – Greek Gyros for James (juicy grilled lamb with lots of fresh veggies and all kinds of sauces in pita bread). Sweet potato fries for me (Note to self: topping sweet potato fries with cheese is not the best idea).
Around 4.30, the beautiful creations were being washed away by the tide; the nature claimed the sand back.
As with any kind of event, traffic on major roads to and from the beach was slow and parking was only available further away from the beach so be prepared to walk if you decide to check out this event next year.
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