Alec Rufiange works on sculpting a pair of sandy legs sticking out of sandy water

Alec Rufiange works on sculpting a pair of sandy legs sticking out of sandy water

Getting your hands dirty

Whether you are an intricate architect or stick-to-the-basics builder, it’s time to try Penticton’s annual sandcastle competition

Sun, water and sand: it makes for the perfect combination to get friends, family and co-workers together for a friendly competition.

The 31st annual Rona Sandcastle Competition at Skaha Beach is a staple during the Penticton Peach Festival and returns this year on Aug. 7.

“Whether you are a participant or a spectator, it is a lot of fun,” said sandcastle competition spokesperson Matt Kenyon. “We are hoping for a huge turnout this year.”

Organizers invite the public to pack the beach and bring their bright ideas to life.

The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Kids teams are allocated one hour, while all other teams are allowed two hours to complete their sandcastle before judging begins. Prize money is awarded and donated to winners charity of choice: $500 for corporate team, $200 for family-friends, $200 for youth and $100 for kids.

Entry forms are available at Rona, Greyback Construction, the Dragon’s Den and at Registration begins at the Skaha Beach sundial at 4 p.m. Entry fees are $50 for corporate teams, $25 for family/friends, $20 for youth teams (13 to 16 years old) and $10 for kid’s teams (under 12).

Kenyon, an experienced project manager with Greyback Construction, has some tips for first time builders: try to grab a plot close to the water for easy access to wet sand, and make sure you have a full team to help build up a big mound of sand quickly, then everyone can focus on sculpting the sand as the clock runs down.

Proceeds from the sandcastle competition go to support Skaha Community Project Society’s local and international efforts. Past donations have gone to Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret School for bursaries, Better Choices For Kids, Adventures in Citizenship, Polio Plus and the Sakh’ingomso Children’s Ministry in East London and South Africa to provide housing and training for street kids.

Local groups such as the Scouts and Girl Guides have been employed in the past to help set up the competition as part of their own fundraisers.