“It was extremely busy this year,” said Mary Sherman, director of events and programs for the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg. “The parking lots were packed and the Grand Haven State Park was full before noon.”
Twenty-two individuals and teams competed in the event held on the beach annually since 1981. Sherman said that 15 teams competed last year.
Families visiting the area from New York and Indiana decided to enter the contest for something to do, Sherman said.
Beachgoers were treated to sculptures of mermaids, Snoopy and his doghouse, dragons, monsters, castles and the People’s Choice winner, the Lion, created by the Nautical Narwhals. The Lion received 22 votes.
An Angry Fish created by Team Shark won the Youth Individual award. Team Sand Sculpture made a mermaid for second place.
Winning the Youth Crew category was: First place – Beach Blossoms, second place – GTW and third place – Megladogs.
Bryan Obermeyer’s Celtic symbol took first place in the adult individual category. Lemon Bubble was second with a dragon coming out of the sand. Connie Melchi took third place with a mermaid.
In the adult crew category, Sandformers took first place, followed by Slipping Tripping Hazards and 4 Peas in a Pod.
The Forefront Dermatology Award went to the Sandformers.
Sherman said a lot of people look forward to the annual event. She said it’s free to watch and a minimal cost to participate.
“It’s a nice end-of-summer community event,” she said.
The participants spend two hours creating their sculptures. Celebrity judges and the public voted for favorite entries.
The celebrity judges included Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb, Grand Haven Tribune advertising representative Kim Street, Forefront Dermatology PA Brittany Babiak and Sam Martin State Farm Insurance representative Kabri.
Only water can be used to set and harden the sand, and no artificial supports can be used. Biodegradable products can be used to decorate.
Participants must bring their own pails, shovels and other equipment. In the past, some participants also brought spray bottles to set certain areas of the sand.