From seal to starfish to lost cat, sand sculptors have their day in sun


The sun beat down on Marina Beach in Edmonds while children and families participated in the city’s annual sand sculpting contest.

The contest, which began at 10 a.m., had about 200 participants, according to Edmonds Parks and Recreation Coordinator Tammy Rankins.

Each creation was unique, with a giant starfish, a Titanic and iceberg, and a dedication to a lost cat, Huckles.

The sculptures all had beach-related features, including seashells and pieces of log, most coming from beach itself.

As judges walked up and down the rows, they were seen jotting down notes about the works. Finally, at about noon, the winners were announced.

Each winning team was awarded one bucket filled with saltwater taffy. Nine buckets were given out, three for each category — a Family Category, a Children’s Category and a Group category for day camps and other large groups.

The event was sponsored by Pat McKee, the long-time owner of now-closed Nama’s Candy Store owner Pat McKee. Rankins explained to the crowd that even though the candy store has shut down, McKee wanted to sponsor the event one last time and provided the taffy. Rankins had everyone say “thank you Pat,” before any buckets were handed out.

Rankins has been coordinating the event for 12 years and estimated the contest itself began in 1999.

The judges —  Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, Edmonds Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Brandi Loveless, and City of Edmonds Economic Development Commissioner Jamie Reece — agreed that judging was very difficult this year with so many creative entries.

Participants were given about three hours to create a complete sculpture and nearly all used the most of their time.

Lynnwood resident Heidi Owen, who along with her family won an honorable mention for “Big Starfish,” said that even with help from the entire family, they were working on it for about two and a half hours. They had come to the beach for the contest and to celebrate her daughter Sophia Owen’s birthday.

As two people on the beach passed the Owens’ starfish, one of them commented, “that definitely deserves something. The prediction was correct and the Owens were awarded an honorable mention.

Three participating families from out of state —  Texas, Connecticut and New York — decided to try their hand at sculpting while in town.

“[The families] were not necessarily coming for my event but they happened to be around and came by so that’s pretty cool,” Rankins said.

The winners are as follows:

Children’s Category – Pazzaz Boat by Isaac Nelson, Sylvie Nelson and Ellery Nelson from Kirkland.

Children’s Category – Castle Kingdom by Isabella Denison and Jackson Denison from Houston, Texas and Georgia Van Hollebeke and Jude Van Hollebeke from Seattle.

Children’s Category – Seal on the Beach by Kian Frazier from Edmonds.

Family Category – Big Star Fish by Heidi Owen, Sophia Owen, Maddie Owen and Steve Littlefield from Lynnwood.

Family Category – Titanic and Iceberg by Audrey Mitchell, Beth Mitchell, Joseph Mitchell and Mark Thibodeau from Edmonds.

Family Category – It Bites (Big Shark Eating a Person) by Soren Tanberg, Auggie Tanberg and Erica Tanberg from Lynnwood, and Grammie and Pap Moulthrop from Windsor, Connecticut.

Daycamp Group – Turtle Town by Cheetos #1 from the Edmonds Boys & Girls Club.

Daycamp Group – Infinity Symbol Castle Town by Starfish #1 from the Edmonds Boys & Girls Club.

Daycamp Group – The Land of a Thousand Tunnels by Starfish #2 from the Edmonds Boys & Girls Club.

— Story and photos by Stephi Smith


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