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Family Fun and Creative Sandcastles at Carmel’s 60th Annual Sandcastle Competition

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (KION-TV)- People came from near and far to compete for the coveted golden shovel at Carmel-By-the-Sea’s 60th annual Sandcastle Contest. 

Liam Temple, who lives in Peamont, Calif., said he loves to participate and spend time with his family. That’s what has kept him coming year after year. 

“I think it's building that with your family because it's really fun,” Temple said. “And then you could talk about it for a long time.

Carmel Beach was packed Saturday with sand, buckets, and shovels. But most importantly, people. It’s an event has now become an end-of-summer staple in the community. Ashlee Wright, the library and community activities director for Carmel-by-the-Sea has heard countless stories about generations of people coming to this sandcastle contest. 

“I’ve heard of people who have been in Carmel who still have their awards,” Wright said. “The little plaques that they won when they were kids and now they're in their 60s.” 

But for some people, like Emma Abdoo from New Jersey, it was their first time. 

“My boyfriend's mom sent me the link to or like the website and she was like, oh, there's a sandcastle competition,” Abdoo said. “Because I build them all the time and the Jersey Shore. So she was like, you might want to check it out.” 

There is not just one prize, the golden shovel, but there are also many other types of awards to hand out to people who have created amazing sandcastles as well. 

“We've got a lot of great awards,” Wright said. “The top one is the golden shovel. Then sour grapes, best theme, best kids, best traditional, and the best bribes.That's one of the ones that the judges really like eating a lot of yummy baked goods over the years.” 

While the winners of the 2023 Golden Shovel, Casey and Mary Alvernaz, were very excited, it wasn’t their first time taking home top honors. 

“This is actually our fourth time winning the golden shovel and it feels really good,” Alvernaz said. “You know, just kind of a really fun family event and they mix it around and there's a bunch of amazing sandcastles out there today.” 

The winners are taking home the Golden Shovel for the second year in a row. This year’s contest theme was traveling back to the future.

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Lindsey Selzer


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