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Bust Out Your Building Skills, It's Time for a Sandcastle Contest

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Did you excel at building with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or K'nex when you were little? Got a team of buddies (or kids) that will let you boss them around for a couple of hours? If so, the Manhattan Beach Sand Castle Design Contest is where you need to be bright and early this Sunday morning.

It's the 52nd year the beachside city has hosted such a shindig, and we're certain that the contestants won't be constructing your average castle with pointy turrets and a hand-scooped moat. A life-sized alligator? Perhaps. A replica of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Very likely.

Registration for the event begins tomorrow at 7:30am on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier; strut your stuff as a one-man team, or build in a group. All participants must be registered by the 8:00am start-time; building ends promptly at 10am. Judges will then wander around the creation collection and determine winners.

Builders can use the usual sand tools to aid them throughout the contest, such as buckets, cans, and small shovels. Banned tools include large shovels, bottles, and glass. All structures must be free-standing and can only be decorated with earth-friendly objects, like pebbles, shells, and stones.

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A contest isn't a contest without prizes though, right? If you're getting down and dirty with the best of them, keep in mind that the judges will be looking for winners in three categories: Best Castle, Best Dribble, and Best Sculpture.

Best castle we get, but dribble and sculpture? These terms called for a little research. A structure with dribble is built by allowing very wet sand to drop from a hand or a tool into blobby, intricate piles. A sand sculpture is formed with wet sand at first, then detailed with small carving tools. Didn't know sandcastle building was this specialized, did you?

Whether you're assuming the role of builder or spectator, head on down below the pier to see what sprouts from some local imaginations. It sounds like painstaking work -- the winning pieces will definitely be a sight to see.

For more information, check out the City of Manhattan Beach's info page.