Friday, June 21, 2024

Strandworthy: See the Biggest Sandcastle Ever in IB This Weekend

Updated August 23, 2021

Sandcastles are an Imperial Beach tradition and the 2021 Sun & Sea Festival transforms into Sandcastle City, August 14-22.

The castle is open for viewing so take a drive down the strand and visit the massive castle built at Portwood Pier Plaza by the multi-award-winning professional team and hometown favorite, I.B. Posse. 

This event is funded by the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Grant Program. For more information visit

IB Posse started to work Friday, August 13 on the structure, estimated to be 20 feet tall in some spots, that would turn into a giant castle and feature a cityscape resembling downtown San Diego.
A few Coronado architectural icons are included such as the Hotel Del Coronado and the Coronado Bridge.
Sun & Sea Festival Committee will honor Imperial Beach’s love of sandcastles as Sandcastle City August 13-22, 2021.
You will find the massive sandcastle at Portwood Pier Plaza.
Sand carvers worked from 10 am to dusk daily to get the castle ready by Wednesday, August 18. It will be open for viewing through the weekend of Aug 22 and beyond.
Patience and a steady hand are essential.
Professional sand carvers, multi-award-winning IB Posse.

Edited August 23, 2021:

Giant Sandcastle to stay up until August 30

Imperial Beach’s Portwood Pier Plaza, now home to the largest sandcastle built on local sand, departed from the traditional sandcastle competition this summer to accommodate covid concerns. The two-story sculpture made from 75 tons of sand will stay up until August 30 with the support from the City of Imperial Beach. According to event co-chair Shirley Nakawatase, “The committee’s roles had to shift for this new direction but we did it. We are grateful for the outpouring of community support.” With local businesses and longstanding sponsors wondering what the group would do, Leah Goodwin said, “it was important to give back to our community as well as utilize the Community Enhancement Grant Funds given by the County of San Diego. Business sponsors Brigantine and Hess Brewery also had smaller sandcastles built on their property to promote the event.”  From all accounts, locals and visitors are pleased with the city scape designed by Leonard Gonzales, captain of the multi-award winning sand sculpting team IB Posse. According to Gonzales, “we wanted to give our community something to look forward to as sandcastles are in our blood, and we couldn’t go another year without seeing sand castles on Imperial Beach…I mean, we are sandcastle city.”  A late addition to the outdoor festivities was the Sandcastle Fiesta event designed to replace the Sandcastle Ball in years past. The fundraiser event was sponsored by the IB Optimist Club and the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach.


Trina Frederiksen
Trina Frederiksen
Trina is a Danish photographer who recently moved to the US to be with her husband who is in the Navy. She now resides in Imperial Beach.Trina has travelled the world and lived in several countries, from arctic Greenland to Mexico. She enjoys exploring cultures and cuisines. Always carrying a camera, she loves to document the world around her and get to know the people she photographs.

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