The Annual Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest

The Annual Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest in the shadow of Haystack Rock

The Annual Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest in the shadow of Haystack Rock

Following the tsunami that hit Cannon Beach in 1964, members of the community — led by Margaret Atherton — gathered together to build sandcastles as a way to bring the town together.

Officially, the sandcastle contest began in 1965. Held on July 29, the first official sandcastle contest (sometimes called “sandcastle day”) was billed as the “first annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest.”

Typically planned for the lowest (weekend) tide around June 20, the sandcastle contest has been designated an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Heritage Commission. According to the Oregon Heritage Commission, an Oregon Heritage Tradition is…

An annual local, regional or statewide event with at least 50 years of continuous operation and is associated with Oregon people, places, events, and activities that characterize the heritage of the state, its positive accomplishments, and its enduring qualities and traditions; has a demonstrated appeal to a broad spectrum of the public; has a demonstrated public profile and reputation that distinguishes it from more ordinary events; provides participatory activities for the public beyond simply the observation of showcase performances; adds to the livability and identity of the state; volunteerism, community building, economic and tourism development, and community giving are among the livability and identity factors that will be considered; has free or paid admission, and has no membership, age, racial, religious, gender, family or other exclusionary requirements.