Kids N’ Kastles Hopes to Continue Despite End of Adult Competition

Organizers of the children’s sandcastle competition want to continue next year and in the future. The competition acts as a major fundraiser for the Optimist Club Imperial Beach.

Though it was announced last month that the will end, the Optimist Club Imperial Beach wants to continue their Kids N’ Kastles children’s sandcastle competition.

The 24th annual Kids N’ Kastles is tentatively scheduled to be held in July 2012, but the city still needs to approve certain permits to allow the event to go forward, said Rico Toscano, the optimist club’s president.

The children’s competition was regularly held Saturday ahead of the adult competition on Sunday, which was organized and judged by the U.S. Open Sandcastle Committee.

Children 12 and under compete in three categories: Creatures of the Sea, Best Sculpture and Best Sand Castles. Objects naturally found on the beach, color die and other materials can be used as decoration.

“We want to continue doing it despite the financial woes of the adults,” Toscano said. “I don’t want to stop it just because somebody else ran into these financial blocks.”

Toscano said the children’s event doesn’t require the hundreds of thousands of dollars and additional security, lifeguards or volunteers, and since it is organized by the optimist club, it doesn’t have to disappear with the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.

However, with the adult competition gone, a few changes may be made for the children’s competition in the future, Toscano said.

More than 100 vendors that lined Seacoast Drive and the Sandcastle Ball go away with the adult competition.

Since it will no longer be necessary to coordinate with the U.S. Open Sandcastle Committee, the event may move to the morning instead of being held in the afternoon. The price to compete may rise from $10 to $25, or $5 a child.

Kids N’ Kastles is a major fundraiser for the Optimist Club Imperial Beach, a nonprofit that sponsors local scholarships and youth activities.

Recently, the group held a holiday food drive and sponsored Thanksgiving dinner for five IB families, Toscano said. The optimist club works closely with local schools and next month they will present the South Bay Union School District’s classified staff and teacher of the year with gift certificates to local restaurants.

Toscano is disappointed the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will end and that it may take a long time, maybe years, to know the full ramifications of ending the adult sandcastle competition.

“I think it became too big and volunteers and sponsorship was too big for them,” he said. “The city and the business community are going to find out how it’s going to impact them.

“When you bring hundreds of thousands of people to the community, you know someone is going to benefit from it. It brought IB international publicity,” he said. “It’s going to hurt the city I believe.”

He hopes the adult competition is brought back in some fashion, possibly under a different organizing body.

Toscano said he knows it won’t be the same as the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, which drew nearly 400,000 people in 2011, but he hopes the children’s competition will continue to bring people to the beach every summer.

“I think our event also drew people there so hopefully we will continue to get support from the city, business community and kids,” he said.

If the competition’s permits are approved by the city, Toscano said, the children’s sandcastle competition will need volunteers and sponsors. Optimist Club Imperial Beach meetings are held

Virginia Syverson December 04, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Thanks for keeping the community informed about this event. Virginia Syverson
Kelly Tracy December 04, 2011 at 10:16 PM
I think its great that the Imperial Beach Optimus Club is so generous with their time... organizing, running and promoting the Kids and Castle's event. Your continued efforts are appreciated. Rico, you have my support. I would like to create and donate the kid's trophies as well as offer my assistance .
Barbara Sanders December 04, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Being a proud member of the Optimist Club for over 20 years, I so appreciate your bringing this to the community's attention.
Serge Dedina December 05, 2011 at 12:40 AM
Thanks Optimist Club for moving forward on this and continuing to benefit our community.
Daniel Gutowski December 05, 2011 at 05:09 AM
The Sand Squirrels and IB Posse would be more than will to create a king size castle for the event. We are your local professional 10 man teams and are committed to inspiring others bring back the adult sand castle competition. We did the Christmas sculpture at the pier for the Christmas in IB festival yesterday. The captains of both teams decided that our gift to the people of Imperial Beach for 2012 will be to build a castle for each major event hosted at Pier Plaza. Our children will be happy to know that the Kids Castles are here to stay!
Jim Hill December 06, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Way to go Optimist Club!
IBlgonzales June 24, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I haven't heard any official announcement but I believe the Kids and Kastles has been cancelled. Just like with the adult contest the cost of permits and security have overwhelmed the organizers. We can't let our cherished community events die because of cost, especially those that benefit our future, the children.
Virginia Syverson June 26, 2012 at 02:35 PM
You are correct that we will not be able to sponsor Kids 'n Kastles this year. We at first were told it was okay with city officials, but them they came up with all kinds of requirements which would have cost a lot of money that we as a community service club do not have. We hope to come back next year. Sad, isn't it? Virginia Syverson, IB Optimist Treasurer
Rico Toscano May 07, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Hi Kelly! This is Rico Toscano, President of the Optimist Club, I want to take you up on your offer to donate and create the kid's trophies. Still working out the details. May need 15 to 30 trophies. I have samples of plates from previous events to show you. Thank You


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