The sands of Crescent Beach, nudged constantly by the rolling waves of Peconic Bay and pounded by the feet of sun worshippers, responded compliantly to the creative forces of local artisans in the First Annual Sandcastle Contest on Sunday. Shaped into spiky towers, sturdy forts and even a giant turtle, the entries reflected the imaginations and skills of the teams building them.
Designed by the Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce as a family activity to complement Saturday night’s amazing display set off by Shelter Island Fireworks by Grucci, the friendly competition took place on a bright, sunny afternoon at the water’s edge. State of the art yachts jostling for position close to the Sunset Beach scene were ignored by the sandcastle teams bent on perfecting their time-honored craft.
The entry fee was $20 per family, and each participant received a bucket and shovel. Some diggers brought more substantial farming implements, while others relied on two hands — or four or more, depending on the size of the team. The sand crafters ranged from preschool age on up, with some technical assistance provided by adults here and there.
The Chamber’s fundraising event kicked off at 1 p.m. and lasted until 3:30. Cool drinks were offered around as the sand sculptors worked in the sun. Catherine Brigham served as judge, awarding prizes for Best Teamwork, Most Creative, Most Intricate and Most Precise.
“This is just the first of what we hope will be many new events the Chamber can offer visitors and residents,” said Brett Surerus, a member of the Chamber of Commerce board. “A huge thanks to all Chamber members who donated the prizes for today, as well as all of the participants who came out ready to have a great day at the beach and compete in our First Annual Sandcastle contest. We look forward to creating new Island traditions together.”
Toys from the Shelter Island Pharmacy and gift certificates to the Whale’s Tale went home with the happy winners. Raffle prizes including flamingo floats from Dabney Lee were also awarded. The tides washed closer and closer to the edifices, taking gentle bites, until they went the way of all sandcastles. But remember, the next time you spread your towel on the sand, or run across it to plunge into the bay, you may be treading on the Most Creative Turtle of Summer 2018.