Beach Bits,  Bug,  Family Matters,  Life Lessons

Sand Castle Festival 2010

protecting her eggs

Yesterday was the Sand Castle Festival at our local beach. I’ve blogged about it for years. We even entered it in 2004 but sadly those blog posts are lost. I have them somewhere on a CD but I’ve just never gotten around to re-uploading them.

buckets and buckets Mr. Big Belly

Anyway, the Sand Castle Festival is near and dear to my heart. I love it and try to visit it every year. I take horrible pictures every year too because it is just about impossible to capture on camera how fun it really is. I try and try but you just can’t crop out the people and all their junk and still show the hustle and bustle of it. Plus, sand is never as photogenic as it seems in your mind’s eye. I should probably use a better camera but it’s the beach and no matter how careful you are there’s that nasty sand that gets in lenses and breaks them.

hybrid vehicle

posing by octi

Now I have a new problem. My new laptop has some color-temperature issues so I’m at a complete loss on how to color-correct my photos. I’m opting for not correcting at all. If you notice a difference in my photos as of late, that is why. They all look greenish to me. But if I correct them to my eye they’ll probably look purplish to you. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out soon. Maybe they’re not so bad.

Poor Bug. I should have taken a better shot of her with both eyes open.

As usual when we visit the Sand Castle Festival, we got inspired to make our own castle. Everyone does. This year was extra fun for me though because Bug is really getting castle-building now. We certainly practice enough all year round. She doesn’t topple things over just when they’re perfectly built anymore and she’s great at fetching water.

water girl very helpful

If you know anything about anything when it comes to building sand castles, you know how important water is. If fact, in a proper contest you really have to spend a good hour or more beforehand soaking everything down. That’s the only way to keep the sand solid enough to carve without it crumbling into a flat mess.

I'm soaked

All that water fetching means somebody has to get wet and for some reason it’s always overcast on Sand Castle Festival day, and just the tiniest bit chilly. So of course we wear long pants, or in Bug’s case, what she wore to church. (What, doesn’t everyone go running around the waves in their pink puffy skirts? Insert eye-rolling here.) No matter how careful we are, there’s always going to be a wave that comes in faster than we expected and washes all the way up to our knees. We both got soaked, naturally.

the stroller makes an appearance

After years and years of living by the beach, sandy wet clothes don’t even faze me anymore. What can you do? It’s just part of life. Sand in your bed, sand in you hair, sand in your carpet…if you have a sand aversion, don’t visit me.

tah dah! we're proud of our drip castle fortress

It is all worth it when you have good times like these though. I actually came down to the beach in a bad mood. Something Toby had said or done had set me off and no matter what I did I couldn’t get the negative thoughts out of my head. I desperately wanted to hash it out with him but arguing with him during his work day means he loses valuable time, and he is always so busy and behind schedule. I knew I had to shelve it and work it out with him later.

I hate shelving arguments. They just fester and fester in my head and I can’t think straight. I’m definitely the type who likes to confront things head on and not bottle them up inside. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn with time that I can’t fight fight fight. I have to calm myself and there is nothing better than making a drip castle to do that.

Squeezing the wet sand through your hand drip by drip by drip can be very zen. Before I knew it I was festering less and focusing more on the tiny drip towers each handful would make. My kid was happy, my mind was quiet, all was well with the world again. And then people started stopping by and telling us how cool our castle was. It kind of surprised me actually since there were castles everywhere to comment on. Why bother with ours? I’m sure my adorable pink-outfitted assistant had a lot to do with it but it got me to thinking…

we take the water route home

We’re good at this. Maybe we should enter the contest together next year, just Bug and me.


  • Becca

    Go for it! It will make a great memory for her, even if your creation doesn’t live up to what you think it should be. I think your drip castle is great! And I’ve never heard of creating like that, it does sound nice.

    We have a sand castle festival near by in Cannon Beach that I’ve wanted to go to for years, but it hasn’t worked out. I either miss the date or we already have plans. This year, we were moving. It is usually in the first few weeks of June and I hope to go next year.

    Maybe we’ll be brave enough and enter ours too…

  • a chris

    Maybe only true beach dwellers know about drip castles. There is something extra-artsy and eye-catching about yours.

    The photos look fine as-is (as-are?). If you’d said it had been a searing hot, sunny day, I would have said there was a problem. ;)

  • bethany actually

    Your photos don’t look green to me! They look a bit cool, but I bet that’s because it actually was overcast that day. I hope you get the color-temp thing figured out, that would drive me nuts.

    And I’m not surprised people were commenting on your castle. Drip castles are unusual and yours is a big one and very cool! Pink-outfitted assistants notwithstanding. ;-)

  • Kuky

    Looks like fun, I think you captured the sand sculptures fine. Now I must look up to see when they do sand sculptures near us. We stumbled on a contest once and I always find sand sculptures fascinating.

    And don’t worry about your color issues, unless you’re printing. Everyone’s screens are set differently so really you have no idea what they might be seeing. When you used to color correct did you change your background to grey for accuracy? And to account for time of day and the light? Learned that in school and just seemed like a big old headache.

  • pinky

    Your photos look beautiful – the last one especially is lovely.

    I myself am sand-averse, but I just read a hot tip about brushing sand off using baby powder. I’ll have to try that if we ever visit a beach again :-)

  • BeachMama

    Oh you should!! I remember that post from 2004, and sorry it got lost… Your photos are great on my machine and I calibrated my monitor so I think you are good. Perhaps your old monitor was a bit off so you just think this one is? Love your pink assistant :)

  • Sarah

    I love the drip sand wall, I’ve not seen that technique before.
    Like the others have said, your photo colours look accurate to me :-)

  • jastereo

    I used to make drip sandcastle at the jersey shore w/my dad (and brothers) and I remember lots of people stopping to check out the coolness. phff…amateurs w/ their regular too dry sandcastles! We’d usually just dig down far enough that it was all a waterlogged mess and get building material that way. Now that I’m thinking about it, this probably had the intended effect of tiring us 2 older boys out! Thanks for the memory, it’s one of my favorite from my childhood beach experiences.

  • flyingbird

    I love reading your beach stories. You talk about the beach restoring your mood, for me I look forward to reading any of your blog posts about living your life with your child at the beach, it’s uplifting and calming. So know that you’re spreading the joy, to people who haven’t even met you! I wish I lived close to such a beautiful beach, but will just have to look forward to my next vacation with my family to get my toes sandy.