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History of the Sandcastle Contest:

The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest began in 1964 when a tsunami washed out the Elk Creek Bridge, and residents were relatively isolated until a new bridge could be built.  That spring, local families gathered for a Sandcastle Contest to entertain their children and attract visitors.  That Sandcastle Contest became one of the largest sandcastle contests on the West Coast.

Divisions of the contest include Sand Fleas, Juniors, Teens, Small Group, Large Group, and Masters.  Contest rules are simple, and no themes are mandated.  This often results in a creative and sometimes colorful commentary on current events.  Each team is given a plot of sand within a designated viewing area, and sand may not be added or removed.  Only natural materials found on the beach, such as sticks, shells, rocks, and seaweed, may be used for ornamentation.  No artificial coloring, paint, flour, sugar, starch, adhesives, or cement may be added.

In 2014, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest was recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, making it one of just 26 events statewide to achieve such a designation. An Oregon Heritage Tradition is an event with broad public appeal, with at least 50 years of continuous operation, contributing to the state's identity.

Weekend events include a bonfire with music & smores, the sandcastle contest, and our Singing Sands 5K Fun Run/Walk.  

Supporters and collectors can buy 2023 limited edition posters and other merchandise online and in person at our Information Center. 2024 posters will be available for purchase in the coming months. 

Registration for the 60th annual Sandcastle Contest or the Singing Sands 5k Fun Run/Walk can be found here. 

60th Anniversary of the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest Poster

The 2024 Sandcastle Contest Poster was revealed at the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce 2023 membership awards on Thursday, February 22nd. Local Cannon Beach artist crafted the artwork, Donald Scott Masterson who created the poster with inspiration from life-long local artist Bill Steidel who has been known for his fantasy-style artwork. Bill Steidel, 95, has been the artist to create many sandcastle posters, especially every 5th anniversary of the contest. Posters will be available in person and online at the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce & Information Center in the next few weeks. This year's posters will include a limited edition, an open edition, and a special edition run. Check back here for the announcement of when posters will be available and for sale.

2024 Sandcastle Contest Artwork by Donnie Masterson

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