Alpena News’ Sandcastle Contest happens July 4

News File Photo Participants in the 2023 Alpena News Sandcastle Contest work on their creation at Starlite Beach in Alpena.

ALPENA — It’s time once again to get out your shovels and pails and let your creativity shine in The Alpena News Sandcastle Contest on the Fourth of July at Starlite Beach.

This is the 11th year the contest has been held, as it started in 2014.

“The News is always looking for ways to get involved with the community, and get the community involved with the paper,” said Justin Hinkley, News publisher and editor. “This is just a fun way to interact with our community that we love so much on the Fourth of July, which is one of the best holidays in Alpena.”

Entering the contest is free and for all ages.

Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Look for The Alpena News’ yellow tent.

There, you can sign up according to age group and size of the group building the sandcastles, which do not, in fact, need to be castles. Participants can use their imagination to create any display they think will wow the judges.

Creations need to be family-friendly, but, other than that, the beach is your canvas, and you’re the artist.

“You want to register early so you’ve got more time to work on your sandcastle,” Hinkley said, adding that building time is from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which is when judges will come around and make their decisions. Cash awards will be presented to the winners at 4 p.m.

Categories include groups of one to five builders, six or more builders, and the children’s division up to age 11.

“There will be cash prizes handed out in each of those categories,” Hinkley said.

In the one to five builders and six or more builders categories, first place will receive $100, second will get $50, and third will win $25. In the kids division, first place will receive $50 and second place will receive $25.

“Our cash prizes are donated by Sytek Ortho, here in town,” Hinkley added.

There will also be people’s choice voting available for $1 per vote, and the winner of that category will receive all the cash used for voting.

“We judge on creativity, use of natural resources, and innovation,” Hinkley said. “When we’re looking for the winning sandcastles, we’re looking for things that are unique … People have made Jabba the Hutt and the Millenium Falcon and really elaborate dragons, and a beached whale. And then, just, your traditional castle, but really elaborate, with bridges and moats and all kinds of things like that. So, if you want to win, you really want to think outside the box and make the best use of the materials that are available to you, right there on the beach.”

Starlite Beach will be open to the public during the contest, so everyone can enjoy the artistic talents of those who choose to participate.

“The public loves coming by and seeing these creations as they’re being built and as they’re finished,” Hinkley added.

Darby Hinkley is Lifestyles editor. She can be reached at 989-358-5691 or dhinkley@thealpenanews.com.


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