Sandcastle contest draws crowds, crowns winners

Alaina Walker, Kay-lee Butteron, Elizabeth Sloppy and Donnie Butterton work together on a sandcastle which won in the 12-and-under category at the Lincoln City Sandcastle Contest on Aug. 10. (Photo by Stephanie Blair)

LINCOLN CITY — The 42nd annual Lincoln City Sandcastle Contest at Siletz Bay brought hundreds of people to the beach in Taft on Saturday morning. For the rest of the day music, laughter and creativity filled the air as 71 teams sought to build the greatest sand sculpture in nine categories.

Organized by the Bay Area Merchants Association and Mo’s of Lincoln City, the event was made possible by countless volunteers — all of whom were working for a great cause. Registration for the contest was free but there was a suggested donation of one non-perishable item per person for the Lincoln City Food Pantry. Through those optional donations, the event rounded up two large bins of food and $64 in cash donations for the local non-profit.

Once the competitors got down to the sand, it was time to scavenge for supplies. There were three rules for the competition: forms could be used but couldn’t support the final structure, natural materials found on the beach could be used for construction and no power tools were allowed. The amateur competition stretched on for five hours — but entertainment from the talented Bret Lucich helped the time fly for onlookers who weren’t focused on crafting castles or sculpting squids. Lucich also carried out the traditional Taffy Toss, which was started by Eleanor’s Undertow more than 20 years ago. Kids grouped up next to the Taft Pier, hoping to catch a piece or two of the coastal candy.

But bigger prizes laid in wait for the amateur sand artists — sand pails, toys, t-shirts and candy for the kids division; cash for the other categories.

The best creative castle was crafted by the Stutzman and Waller boys, Miranda Arms took home the prize for best lighthouse, the best dog prize was won by Paul Richards, Jeramy Peters was the artist behind this year’s best chowderhead, Halle and Steph created the best mermaid, the best prehistoric creature was created by Shadra Beesly and her dad, Michael Christensen sculpted the best traditional sandcastle and the best squid was the brainchild of Evan, Selena, Corbin, Amber, Glade and Ezra. The kids’ category, for competitors 12 and under, awarded prizes to five teams.

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