Massive Cannon Beach Sand Castle Contest Soon on Oregon Coast
(Cannon Beach) – One of the biggest and most legendary festivals in Oregon owes its beginnings to a tsunami.
This sandy biggie is coming up: the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest happens on Saturday, June 21, celebrating its 50th anniversary as a northwest favorite.
After an earthquake in Alaska in 1964 caused a massive tsunami along the west coast, the then-sleepy little north Oregon coast village of Cannon Beach found itself cut off from the outside world after the sea washed out its only bridge. Locals got together and decided to create a major distraction for themselves, conjuring up a sandcastle contest.
It was only a year later when residents realized the potential draw of such an event, and the second annual contest was kickstarted to help bring back tourists. 50 years and thousands upon thousands of visitors later, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest is a huge draw all across the northwest, now bringing world-famous sculptors from around the world.
Dozens of teams of master sand sculpture artists, amateur groups and families will construct remarkable creations, all of which unfortunately get washed away by the tides. But in the meantime, spectators and participants alike enjoy an energetic vibe where fun is the active ingredient even more than the competitive spirit that comes along with the famed festival.
The event is serious fun for masters teams who compete for cash prizes. Their monumental sculptures typically utilize construction forms, similar to those used for pouring concrete. Sand is shoveled, tamped and packed into the forms to make large, elaborate sand sculpture creations possible without crumbling under their own weight.
Sandcastle building starts at 11 a.m. this year (it's always tide-dependent), and officials say the best time for viewing is as they near completion, which will be mid to late afternoon. High tide comes in later and takes it all away.
There's even more to do on this day. While the sculptures in the sand are the focal point, there are numerous other activities to entertain varied members of the family. Weekend activities include a spaghetti dinner, parade, concert, beach bonfire and a 5K fun run and walk. Portland Trailblazer ambassador, Jerome Kersey will attend the Friday night dinner and present awards to the winners as they are announced at 4 p.m. Saturday on the beach.
This is the only day of the year parking is allowed on the beach in Cannon Beach, accommodating thousands of day trippers from 11 am – 5 pm on the day of the event. For information on the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest, entry forms or lodging information, visit cannonbeach.org or contact the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce at (503) 436-2623.
Make sure you make hotel, motel reservations in Cannon Beach early as the town does fill up fast. Other lodging options can be found at nearby Seaside and Manzanita – also shown at that link. Also see the Cannon Beach Virtual Tour, Map.
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