Helping Sands

Ocean Beach is typically a haven for surfers, dog owners, and beach-hippie-burnouts, but one day a year, the bonfire-scorched sands get molded and shaped into massive works of art at Leap's Annual Sandcastle Contest. Now in its 29th year, the contest features teams of architects, engineers, contractors, designers, corporations, and local elementary school students working to create the biggest and best sand sculptures. Free and open to the public, thousands of people flock to Ocean Beach each year to view the contest, which is evaluated by a panel of celebrity judges. This year's theme is “2012 Leap Year (Things that Jump!),” so expect to see a lot of leaping and bounding animals and characters rising up from the sands. It isn't just a free-for-all though: Before the event, teams meet with students in the classroom to develop an idea for the theme, and preliminary clay models are created as well as a building schedule for the day of. The teams have four hours to build, shape, and complete their design. There is even an all-ages, community sandcastle-building-area designated for eager bystanders to build their own sandy masterpiece. More than 20 local schools and 300 sponsors participate in the contest, with all the proceeds raised by the teams going to help Leap continue to provide and fund art programs for Bay Area schoolchildren.
Sat., Oct. 20, 10 a.m., 2012

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