The 56th annual Sandcastle Contest has gone virtual this year. Dubbed for 2020 the Summer of Sandcastles.

Like so many other activities in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the Sandcastle Contest is taking place this year because to hold it in the open with thousands of observers would not be safe.

But to cancel the contest was unthinkable.

“I just wanted to see that my hometown tradition continued,” said Debbie Nelson, chairman of the committee in charge of putting on the event.

Nelson said anyone can enter by constructing a sand sculpture at a beach, taking a photo and sending in an entry. Information as to where to send the photo is on the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce website. The contest is presented by the chamber.

“The Sandcastle Contest is usually a party for 30,000 people –it sure has changed this year,” she said.

The contest usually has about 26 to 30 teams, but this year so far there are seven registrations, said Buddie Anderson, executive assistant at the chamber.

The contest takes place between June 13, and Sept. 7, as stated on the chamber website. It is the “oldest competition of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

“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 11 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 and that contributes to the identity of the state.”

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