Rockaway Times Sandcastle Contest Was the Biggest Yet!


Sandcastles may not last forever, but memories do and we hope everyone that came out for the 3rd Annual Rockaway Times Sandcastle Contest left with a new memory of a beautiful, fun day with plenty of creative sand sculptures. With 41 participating groups this year, this was our biggest sandcastle contest yet!

Sunday, July 29 was a gorgeous day for the beach and many chose to spend their day on Beach 117th, making creations out of sand for the chance to win bragging rights and some amazing prizes. For the third year in a row, The  Rockaway Times sponsored the Rockaway Sandcastle Contest, along with the help of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and Councilman Eric Ulrich's office. Sunday’s event proved that it’s getting bigger and better with 41 participating groups or individuals and plenty of prizes donated by local businesses.

This year’s contest presented two good problems. As last year’s contest only had 26 groups, we only prepared 30 spaces in the contest area. However, participants kept on arriving, wanting to get in on the fun this year, so some had to work outside of the contest area. The second good problem was the overwhelming generosity of local businesses that donated prizes towards the prize pool for this year’s contest. A huge thanks goes to Uncle Louie G of Rockaway Beach, Carvel, Coastal Frozen Yogurt, Fat Cardinal Bakery, Lana’s Loft, Avoid the Day Pop-up Bookstore, Far Rock Shop, CROM, Hot Yoga Rockaway Beach, Mazzone Hardware, Zingara Vintage and American Princess Cruises, for donating some amazing swag, items, gift certificates and giftcards. Because of them, for the first time, The Rockaway Times was able to have runners up and give prizes to not only our first, second and third place winners, but to fourth place winners as well. Please be sure to frequent and thank these businesses for helping to make the contest even more fun.

And now on to the winners! This year our judges, including Liam Kavanagh, First Deputy Commissioner at NYC Parks, Alex Zablocki, Executive Director of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy and Rockaway Times freelance reporter, Nicole Taylor-Lang, had the tough job of picking our winners. The competition was stiff but only 12 were recognized as top sand masters. The contest featured three age categories: 8 and Under, 9-15 and 16 and Up, and there were first through fourth place winners in each.

In the 8 and Under category, First Place was an interactive “7-11 Ball Game” created by Ellen Nichtern, Lauren Hayden, Taryn and Hayden Martin and Maggie Butler. In Second Place was an amazing mermaid and castle created by Max Klein, with the help of Noah Klein and Allison Garber. Third Place went to a detailed spider crab made by Bella and Beldon Mai. And an Honorable Mention went to Thomas and Tim Nichtern and Owen and Connor Hayden for their coaster game.

The 9-15 age category was the most popular, with 20 groups competing. However Olivia Remmert and Farrah Wengler took the crown with their environment-friendly Save the Sea Turtles message earning them First Place. In Second Place was a detailed town featuring roadways and tunnels with cars and Hillel’s Bakery, created by Hillel and Sarah Roberts. Spongebob and Friends earned Third Place for Loren Zorrilla, Uma Hameed and Jazlyn Alleyne. And the Honorable Mention in this category went to Kelly and Tom Werther and Mark Czeisler for their David Bowie tribute.

Now on to the big guns. The adult category was a tough one with so many great pieces, but not everyone could win first. Our first place winner came in like a lion and left like a lamb. Carolina Moya created a gorgeous lion in the sand that earned her First Place, but she was nowhere to be found when the winners were announced (We've since gotten in touch and will arrange to give Carolina her prizes.) Second Place went to William McLernon for a scary shark attacking Ellis Island. Christine, Harmony, Sage and Clover McFarlane paid homage to Rockaway’s Playland with a sculpture of the icon Playland clown. Last but not least, Thomas Sullivan showed he’s proud to be an American with an American flag in the sand.

Although there were 12 top winners, almost everyone went home with something. Participants were given medals, sunglasses and other giveaways as supplies lasted.

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone that came out to participate in the contest and to check out the creations. A special thanks goes out to NYC Parks Rockaway Administrator Portia Dyrenforth for helping make this contest possible. We’re sad to report that this will be her last sandcastle contest, as she is moving on to a new NYC Parks position and will no longer be Rockaway’s Administrator. Thank you for everything, Portia! The next administrator will have some big shoes to fill and we look forward to working with them on next year’s sandcastle contest!


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