It’s here! The 4th Annual Rockaway Sandcastle Contest, sponsored by The Rockaway Times, is Sunday, August 4!
For the fourth 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 hosting this free, fun family tradition on the beach. Break out those shovels, buckets and other sand tools and head down to Beach 117th Street on Sunday and show off your sand-sculpting skills!
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 lion, or even a functional sand game (yes, we’ve had those in past years), it’s up to you. All ages and all levels are welcome.
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 judge each piece on different criteria like creativity, composition and wow factor! Winners are expected to 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 colored fish tag, 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 some pretty awesome prizes this year. Special thanks go to American Princess Cruises, Whit’s End, Coastal Frozen Yogurt, Carvel, Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor, Yacht Rock Charters, the Belle Harbor Steakhouse and Pizza D'Amore for their generous donations of gift certificates to their businesses. Please make sure to support these amazing businesses to thank them for their support and giving back to the community! Also, a special shout out to the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy for donating some of their very special artist-created Jamaica Bay and Rockaway prints that are currently being sold to help support this wonderful organization.
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 a very limited supply of small buckets and shovels for those who don’t have their own, 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 83-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! It is also recommended to have bug spray on hand in case the wind brings in flies.
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 sleeping lion, a tribute to Playland, a message to Save the Turtles, a whole town with a bakery and much more! We’re sure those talented sand artists out there will impress once again!