Master artists build on tradition, creating sculptures of sand
that are washed away by the next high tide at the 52nd annual
Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Cannon Beach, Oregon, will host its annual Sandcastle Contest Saturday, June 11, the oldest competition of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and the most popular event in this Oregon Coast town. Dozens of teams of professional sand sculpture artists, amateur groups and families will construct remarkable creations in the sand during the event. The Masters division teams compete for cash prizes and construct large, elaborate creations often utilizing construction forms similar to those used for pouring concrete in order to accomplish their monumental size.
Although the sand sculpture contest on Saturday is the highlight of the weekend, visitors will find plenty of other activities to keep them busy. Weekend activities include a Friday night concert at the Coaster Theatre featuring 3 Leg Torso, an award-winning quintet specializing in an eclectic synthesis of chamber music, tango, klezmer, latin and Gypsy music. Additional weekend events include a parade, beach bonfire and 5K fun run and walk. Judging of the sandcastles will be at 1:30pm this year, making 11:30am-2pm the best time for viewing the completed sculptures. The tide will determine how long the sculptures last.
In 2014, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest was recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, making it one of just 11 events statewide to achieve such a designation. An Oregon Heritage Tradition is an event with broad public appeal, with at least 50 years of continuous operation and that contributes to the identity of the state.
Make lodging reservations early for this popular weekend as hotels typically sell out all rooms in advance. Day-trippers should plan on arriving early. The Sandcastle Contest is the only day of the year when the beach is used for parking to accommodate the large crowds. For information on the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest or information on how to participate, contact the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce at (503) 436-2623. For lodging information, visit cannonbeach.org.
CANNON BEACH SANDCASTLE CONTEST HISTORY
From tsunami to an Oregon Heritage Tradition, the Cannon Beach
Sandcastle Contest has a colorful 50-plus year history.
A tsunami is credited with being the genesis of the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest. An earthquake in Alaska in March of 1964 created a tsunami wave that washed ashore on the Northwest coast. Cannon Beach’s downtown suffered from flooding and the Ecola Creek Bridge was washed away. Local residents got together that summer to put on a community Sandcastle Contest to raise spirits. Recognizing the potential draw of such an event, the event was promoted to the public the next year in an effort to bring tourists back to town. The event grew, began attracting tens of thousands of visitors and more than 50 years later, the Sandcastle Contest weekend is still one of the busiest weekends of the year for Cannon Beach.
In 2014, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest was named an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, making it one of just 11 events statewide to achieve such a designation. An Oregon Heritage Tradition is an event with broad public appeal, with at least 50 years of continuous operation and that contributes to the identity of the state.