Rockaway Times Sponsored: Rockaway Sandcastle Contest is July 29!


It’s here! The 3rd Annual Rockaway Sandcastle Contest, sponsored by The Rockaway Times, is Sunday, July 29!

For the third year in a row, The Rockaway Times, along with the help of NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office and plenty of local businesses, is bringing back this fun family tradition. Break out those shovels, buckets and other sand tools and head down to Beach 117th Street on Sunday and work your sand sculpting magic!

Although it’s called a sandcastle contest, participants are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. Whether you want to create a castle, a mermaid, a whale, or even a functional ski ball game (yes, we had one of those last year!), it’s up to you. All ages are welcome and no experience is necessary.

Registration opens at 11 a.m. on the boardwalk at Beach 117th Street. The contest starts at 12 noon, so don’t be late! Latecomers will be able to join in until 12:30 p.m., but all participants only have until 2 p.m. to finish their creations. Judges will go around to critique each piece on different criteria like creativity, composition and wow factor! Winners will be announced between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

There will be three different age categories to compete in: 8 and Under, 9 to 15, and 16 and Up (that means you, adults!) Participants can register as an individual or as a group, but groups should be no more than five people. If a group contains participants that can fit into two age categories, it is up to the group to decide which age category they want to compete in upon registering. After registering, participants will receive a special tag, either a flip flop, a beach ball or a sun, with a number on it, indicating their group number and age category. Once they receive their tag, participants can choose any open plot in the roped-off contest area to make their creation.

The top three winners in each category will get a first, second or third place trophy. Plus, thanks to several local businesses, we have a plethora of additional prizes this yea!. Special thanks goes to Uncle Louie G’s of Rockaway Beach, The Fat Cardinal Bakery, Coastal Frozen Yogurt, Carvel, Lana’s Loft,  and Zingara Vintage for donating gift certificates to their businesses. Hot Yoga Rockaway Beach has also donated a one-month unlimited pass for hot yoga and CROM has donated a pair of boxing gloves and a one-month pass for Muay Thai classes for a child. The Wharf has donated a certificate for brunch for two. Avoid the Day Pop-up Bookstore has donated an amazing gift basket full of children’s books, a jenga game, a t-shirt and more. Far Rock Shop has donated a hat and t-shirt combo and Mazzone Ace Hardware has donated a Yeti tumbler, valued at $30. Please make sure to support these amazing businesses to thank them for their support for the contest!

While winners will receive the goodies mentioned above, most participants will receive something just for joining in (as long as supplies last). There will be giveaways like medals and sunglasses. There will also be some buckets and shovels available to those who don’t have their own, courtesy of Councilman Ulrich’s office, plus a cooler full of water and juice so participants can stay hydrated as they work.

The Rockaway Sandcastle Contest was a longtime Rockaway tradition started by West End Realty many years ago. They ran it for about 18 years until the organizers moved out of town. The Rockaway Times picked up the shovel and started it up again in 2016.

As we go to press, the forecast calls for a sunny 81-degree day, so make sure to bring hats, sunscreen and even umbrellas, or feel free to take a dip in the ocean when filling up your water buckets! In the event of rain, a rain date will be announced at a later time.

Whether participating or not, all are encouraged to stop by and check out the amazing creations and cheer on the participants. Last year, we had a replica of the humpback whale that washed up on the beach, a beautifully detailed mermaid, tributes to Rockaway, a fidget spinner and much more. We’re sure Rockaway will impress once again!

If anyone has any questions, please contact Katie McFadden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.