California Festivals


Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival

July 16, 2022

Portwood Pier Plaza
Imperial Beach, CA
Free admission,

There is never a bad time for a Sandcastle Contest in California.

Sandcastle Competition: Four local sand-carving teams will compete in one of San Diego County's most beloved traditions on the sand at Imperial Beach's famed Portwood Pier Plaza.

Kid's n-Kastles, sponsored by Optimist Club of Imperial Beach, offers teams of kids aged 10-years or younger a chance to compete at Dunes Park.

Entertainment: The free festival features entertainment on July 16, 2022, 12-5 p.m. at Portwood Pier Plaza outdoor stage.

Exhibition Sandcastle: Stop on by to watch the construction of the exhibition sandcastle that begins on Tuesday, July 12. Best days for viewing are Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16.

The committee is grateful to longtime sponsors such as CAL AM Water, the County of San Diego, and the City of Imperial Beach, along with local IB businesses who support this year's community-based effort. This family-friendly, no-alcohol, free event is open to the public.



Past events


Celebrates 31st year in 2011

IMPERIAL BEACH, CALIF. -- This is the biggest annual event in Imperial Beach, a city just a few miles north of Mexico border and Tijuana in California. The sand is smooth and the builders are clever as they compete for prizes in the annual event that offers over $20,000 in prizes. 42 teams in the Masters A division competed in 2010, including teams from Italy, Australia and Quebec.

The Sandcastle competition has always been a successful concept. Even when it was launched in 1980, 30,000 people showed up. Now it attracts well over 325,000 over a three-day weekend. The competition was launched when a group of Imperial Beach residents, inspired by a similar competition in their sister city of White Rock, British Columbia, decided to host their own event in beautiful Imperial Beach.

The Sandcastle Dance kicks off the weekend at the Imperial Beach Boys and Girls Club. This 21+ event includes liquor beverages, so they instituted a 21 age (must show ID) rule for admission. Street festival with vendors, entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and bands. Visitors stroll up and down Seacoast Drive. The musical entertainment draws a huge crowd every year and includes beach & surf sounds.

Kids-N-Kastles Competition is held on Saturday afternoon.

Vendor Village on Seacoast Drive is open.

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition begins. It is a championship of sandcastle building where the professional sand carvers vie for the title of Master's Champion. Professional and amateur sand carving teams throughout the U.S. compete in the sandcastle building competition with more than $20,000 in cash prizes. Trained judges officiate and select winners. The awards ceremonies wrap up the event in the afternoon.

4 p.m. Sculpture viewing concludes, due to the tides.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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