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Cannon Beach's Sandcastle Contest June 15 Brings Celebrity David Frei to Oregon Coast

Published 6/04/24 at 6:25 a.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Perhaps the most revered and anticipated evens of the entire Oregon coast, it's roaring back on June 15. The 2024 Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest returns to the sands of the famed burgh-by-the-sea, this time in its 60th year. It's an historic event that is recognized as an iconic Oregon heritage tradition, so designated by state officials years ago. (Oregon Coast Beach Connection photo)

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Again it boasts a landscape filled with whimsical to downright head-spinning creations, with sand sculptors of various levels putting together grand works of art into the beach in front of Haystack Rock. This time, say organizers at the Cannon Beach Chamber, it “promises a blend of creativity, community engagement, and a nod to the resilient spirit of Cannon Beach.”

This year's Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest goes well beyond sand sculpting - it's a celebration of creativity and community involvement. Spectators can now engage in new ways, including the People’s Choice voting and partnerships with local nonprofits. The event's emcees, regional icons David Frei (Co-Host of NBC’s National Dog Show Presented by Purina) and Hannah Buschert, will guide participants through the festivities.

Also onboard: Todd Davidson of Travel Oregon, another famous Oregon name, will join as a judge for the Master’s Division.

Sandcastle Day in the '60s / Cannon Beach History Museum

The 2024 Sandcastle Contest proudly showcases the captivating poster artwork by local Cannon Beach artist Donald Scott Masterson. Renowned for his vibrant depictions of Cannon Beach’s natural landscapes, Masterson’s creation captures the essence and historical thrills of the sandcastle competition. Limited edition posters and merchandise featuring this unique artwork will serve as cherished mementos for attendees.

A fair amount of new additions are coming with this 60th year of the Oregon coast fave.

Sandcastle Day 1986

The festivities kick off on June 14th with a captivating sandcastle-building demonstration by master artist Bill Rose. Then, on June 15th, the contest officially begins, showcasing participants' talents across various categories. This year, spectators can actively participate through People’s Choice voting: purchase wooden tokens and cast your vote for your favorite masterful sandcastle. A portion of the token sales proceeds will directly support the participating teams, and the team with the most votes will claim the coveted People’s Choice Award.

Yet this isn't all the weekend holds in store. More delights and diversions await: a beachside bonfire, live music, and complimentary s’mores courtesy of Cannon Beach Bakery. Then there's the grand finale: the Singing Sands 5K Fun Run & Walk on Sunday, June 16th.

Sandcastle Day 1986

This year's fest of sand also features local non-profits with their own presence, including the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum and the Clatsop Animal Shelter. The history museum will be displaying their exhibit “60 Years of Sandcastles” that outlines the history of the Sandcastle Contest over the decades. The Clatsop Animal Shelter will have dogs on the beach for petting, playing, and adoption.

Cannon Beach's Sandcastle Contest actually had its start just after a large-scale Oregon coast tragedy.

“The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest, rooted in community resilience following the 1964 tsunami, has grown into a much-anticipated annual event that celebrates creativity, teamwork, and the beauty of Cannon Beach,” said chamber organizers. “It stands as a testament to the community’s spirit, capacity for renewal, and commitment to supporting local talent and causes.”

In March of '64, an earthquake in Alaska caused a major tsunami along much of the West Coast, including some parts of Oregon. Seaside and Cannon Beach were really hit the most (while four children in Newport died because of it). Among wrecking many other things, the tsunami took out the bridge in Cannon Beach for awhile. Once it was rebuilt, the town found not many tourists were returning. Partially to lift their own spirits, local held the first sandcastle contest in June of '64.

They knew they had something.

When they held the second one in '65, it kicked into life and started up a tradition that has achieved national coverage in recent decades. See N. Oregon Coast History: Tsunami Tragedy Started Cannon Beach's Sandcastle Festival

For full information about the event, registration, accommodations, and merchandise, visit CannonBeach.Org.

About David Frei:

As the co-host of NBC’s National Dog Show Presented by Purina since its inception in 2002, David is seen every Thanksgiving Day by the largest TV audience for any dog show – more than 25 million viewers. It is the same role that he perfected in 27 years as the longtime (1990-2016) co-host of USA Network’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Beachcomber Vacation Homes.  Numerous vacation rentals in the Cannon Beach area, including Falcon Cove and Arch Cape. Depending on the home, you may find amenities and luxuries such as a barbecue, claw foot tub, a ship's ladder. 115 Sunset Blvd. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 855-219-4758. 503-436-4500. Website.


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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