Volcanoes, snow angles, mermaids, sea creatures, and yes, castles could be seen sculpted in the sand at Mount Arlington Public Beach Saturday morning.
The first annual sand castle building contest, sponsored by the Mount Arlington Board of Recreation Commission, drew 15 participants between the ages of six and 12. There were nine overall entries in the competition. Participants were allowed to use only the natural elements of the beach and some plastic sand toys.
Richie Temple and Aidan Kilpatrick, both 12, were the only participants in the 12-14-age category. They created a volcano that had dripped wet sand and seaweed as lava, which ran down the side of the three-foot high mountain to a village below.
There were six entries in the 9-11-age category. First place went to Nick Temple and Ronnie Appleby. Their village sported a moat, a bridge and a large castle.
Eric Moldeveanu working alone took second place while Sach Strickler and Tommy Appleby took third.
In the seven and under age group Matthew Tomaselli took first place with a parade of sea creatures. Mikey Temple and Evan Mohren took second.
All the first place winners went home with boogie boards and beach toys. Second and third place winners received beach toys.
The mist and sometime steady rain did keep people away, said event chairperson Sharon McDonald. But, she said, wet sand is better for building sand castles, something she thinks people just didn’t realize.
Sgt. Jim DiStasio of the Mount Arlington police department, volunteer firefighter Sean Foote and Jackie Coy, a volunteer at the Mount Arlington Public Library, were contest judges.
“I think the kids enjoyed this,” said McDonald while standing under a popup tent to avoid the rain. “I’m confident it will get bigger. These kids will tell their friends about it and next year we’ll have more kids participating,” she said.
Robyn Platz and Natalie Cantgallo pose for a photo next to their mermaid-themed creation.