14th annual Sandastle Festival returns Aug. 3

By Cecilia Nasmith

Twelve master sculptors from all over North America promise a maximum awe quotient Aug. 3 at Cobourg's Pinnacle Award-winning Sandcastle Festival.

The 14th annual edition is an open celebration with a live DJ on the beach from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as a Kids' Zone and an inflatable Fun Park (admission to this feature is by wristband, available for $5 at the registration tent).

The master sculptors will get to work at 8 a.m. and, at 8:30 p.m., amateur competitors can start registering under the blue tent. Judging will begin at 2:30 p.m., with a 4:30 p.m. awards presentation at the DJ booth.

It's free to view these astonishing works of art all weekend, and visitors are also invited to travel a couple of blocks north of the beach to check out the Downtown Cobourg annual Sidewalk Sale, which offers great deals Aug. 1 to 4. Wristband holders who visit the Sidewalk Sale will get free access to all the inflatables at that event as well.

The waterfront fun stretches into the evening hours, when the 8:30 p.m. Movie In The Park offers the chance to enjoy Ralph Breaks The Internet as a family, followed by fireworks over the harbour at 10:30 p.m. - and both events are free.

Councillor Adam Bureau (Co-ordinator of Arts, Culture and Tourism) said the festival is a huge draw every year.

“We couldn't be more pleased to see the amazing sculptures created from both our experts and registered teams,” Bureau said.

The competition is open to aspiring artists of all skill levels. Each team gets its own flag and 20-ft-square working space, and this year's theme is Why We Love Canada. Registration (which can be done in advance at or in person at the event) is $5 per person, and each team has a chance to win cash prizes within each category (not to mention the coveted event title).

New this year, the town has partnered with Wheelchair Friendly Solutions Inc., who has graciously donated 200 extra feet of beach accessibility mats, providing easier access throughout the festival area for those with strollers, crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs and even bare feet. A Mobi-Chair will also be available to provide the best possible water and wheelchair experience, a beach wheelchair with floatable armrests and tires.

The Sandcastle Festival has been recognized many times as one of the province's best-known and most-respected events. It placed among this year's Top 11 Festivals and Events in Ontario, and has also been internationally recognized with the Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association.

For ease of access, the town is offering a free shuttle service to the event from 8:30 a.m. To 11 p.m., with pick-up locations at Northumberland Mall, Cobourg Community Centre and Donegan Park. Drop-off locations will include the Cobourg beach-Victoria Park area.

The Sandcastle Festival is organized by the Town of Cobourg and proudly supported by such major sponsors as Cameco, New Amherst Homes and Thomas Pontiac Buick.