ALPENA - The Alpena News is hosting the 2013 Sand Castle Contest July 4 at Starlight Beach. Competitors can start registering at 8 a.m. and have until 3 p.m. to complete their entries before judging starts, said Advertising Manager Laura Lancewicz. In previous years, the event was handled by the Downtown Development Authority.
"It's just a fun community event and The News stepped forward to keep it up," she said.
This year the competition is divided into two divisions: one is for teams of one to two builders; the other for three or more builders. Participants are allowed to use shovels, buckets and human power, Lancewicz said. However, mechanical power is barred.
Although labeled a sand castle competition, past participants have created a pod of swimming dolphins, cars, an octopus, a mother gorilla and her baby and other sculptures, piling, packing and wetting the sand into shape.
The three-judge panel is looking for originality; the use of natural resources; shape and artistic form, Lancewicz said. Extra credit is given for the use of natural materials, such as drift wood, seaweed and stones in a creative way. Size and shape also are important, especially if the finished work reflects a lot of time and effort.
Winners receive $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third, and those who nab top prizes will have their names listed in the newspaper the following day, she said.
What: The Alpena News Sand Castle Contest
Where: Starlight Beach
When: July 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Judging: 3 p.m., with winners announced at 4 p.m.
Lancewicz said The News is also offering People's Choice Voting this year to raise funds for the city's 2014 fireworks display. Each vote is $1 and the winning team will receive a $30 Arby's gift card.
Jackie Krawczak, executive director of the Alpena Chamber of Commerce, remembers competing with a team of her siblings more than 12 years ago.
"We always had a well-planned out design that sometimes we would practice in advance, and we placed every year," she said.
One of her family's best entries was a sand sculpture of a truck pulling a jeep out of a muddy bog.
"We had a bucket, a watering can, a couple shovels and that was pretty much it," she said.
Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.