Sandcastle Fiesta & Sandcastle City ...

The Sandcastle Fiesta event designed to replace the Sandcastle Ball in years past was a great success. The fundraiser event was sponsored by the IB Optimist Club and the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach.

The Giant Sculpture at Portwood Pier Plaza will stay up for another week supported by City of IB officials and the  scaled-back Kids-n-Kastles was a Hit at Dunes Park

Sandcastle City

Imperial Beach’s Portwood Pier Plaza, now home to the largest sandcastle built on local sand, departed from the traditional sandcastle competition this summer to accommodate COVID concerns. The two-story sculpture made from 75 tons of sand will stay up until Aug. 30 with the support from the City of Imperial Beach.

According to event co-chair Shirley Nakawatase, “The committee’s roles had to shift for this new direction but we did it. We are grateful for the outpouring of community support.”

With local businesses and longstanding sponsors wondering what the group would do, Leah Goodwin said, “It was important to give back to our community as well as utilize the Community Enhancement Grant Funds given by the County of San Diego. Business sponsors Brigantine and Hess Brewery also had smaller sandcastles built on their property to promote the event.” 

From all accounts, locals and visitors are pleased with the city scape designed by Leonard Gonzales, captain of the multi-award winning sand sculpting team IB Posse. According to Gonzales, “We wanted to give our community something to look forward to as sandcastles are in our blood, and we couldn’t go another year without seeing sand castles on Imperial Beach…I mean, we are sandcastle city.”  

A late addition to the outdoor festivities was the Sandcastle Fiesta event designed to replace the Sandcastle Ball in years past. The fundraiser event was sponsored by the IB Optimist Club and the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach.


Kids-n-Kastles footprint was smaller this year but no less enthusiastic. Amid COVID concerns, teams were down from the traditional 20 to 16 in teams of five participants; organizers felt that these changes would mitigate having too many people within and around the building plots.

According to Virginia Syverson, “We received numerous compliments from parents and it was great to see the interaction between the kids competing and the high school volunteers.”

Anne Pilgrim managed the new volunteer process this year with high school students receiving credit for their work. “We asked them to be judges, water carriers, and to set-up and clean-up for the younger kids,” said Pilgrim.

The IB Optimists Club has sponsored this part of the Sun & Sea Festival for decades and looked forward to continuing the tradition again this year. IB Optimist president Joe Stancer said, “We were really pleased by the response and how great the kids were. And that’s the payoff -- a beautiful morning at the beach with kids having fun in the sand.”  

Winning Sculptures:

Category: Best Sculpture/ Sandcastle — First Place team: Sea GlassBlu Strand Kids; Second Place team: Sea Strikers; Third Place team: The Force

Category: Creatures of the Sea - First Place team: Sandis; Second Place team: Las Sirenitas; Third Place team: Rumis Team

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