On Hiatus for 2023, the Largest Local Festival Will Return in 2024 

One of San Diego County’s most beloved traditions and the largest local festival held annually on the sand at Portwood Pier Plaza has been canceled for 2023. The mid-summer tradition of a large sandcastle building competition will not be going away permanently but taking a one-year hiatus according to chairperson Shirley Nakawatase.  “The volunteer committee is sad to sit this one out but we will regroup and start planning for next year’s 2024 festival in September,” she said. 

The City of Imperial Beach is famous for its sandcastle competition starting with the U.S. Open Sandcastle competition held July 25, 1981. The annual competition lasted for 31 years and ended in 2011. In 2012 The San Diego Port District produced IB Kids Fest at Pier Plaza in June. This reignited the tradition of the original IB celebration with a new Sun & Sea Festival in 2013 featuring a professional sand sculpture display and the children’s Kids ‘N Kastles competition. The festival’s current format, adopted by a large group of local volunteers, has been taking place every year since then. Even during the pandemic, organizers in partnership with the City of Imperial Beach and the San Diego Port District, were able to continue the town’s love of sandcastles without the street festival as Sandcastle City by presenting the largest sandcastle ever built on Imperial Beach’s Pier Plaza along with several smaller sand sculptures at local businesses on display for several weeks. The ninth annual Sun & Sea Festival held in July 2022 was a rousing success and festival officials look forward to an equally successful event in 2024. 

“Imperial Beach is the home of the original sandcastle competition and part of our culture. We really are Sandcastle City,” adds Nakawatase. “The committee is grateful to longtime sponsors who we hope will continue to support us in 2024. The Port of San Diego, CAL AM Water, the County of San Diego, the City of Imperial Beach, EDCO, and ATT just to name a few. Many local businesses are also supporters and we look forward to working with them as well.” 

If anyone would like to join the Sun & Sea Festival committee and volunteer for the 2024 event, please send us a message on our website www.sunandseafestival.com or let us know via one of our social media sites.

Vol. 39, No. 19 - Thursday, May 11, 2023

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.