Our castle had an under-the sea, organic feel which I was very pleased with. We all used our ideas and collaborated all the way through. We named it Aquaria.
People walking by got it:
"I think Yoda lives there."
"It looks like Disneyland!"
"I expect a hobbit to come popping out."
"It looks like Gondor."
And lots of children being drawn to it, with exclamations of Oo and Ah. The judges (except for Councilmember Tony Daysog) didn't like it as much as the more traditional, fortification type of castle. So while we didn't place, it's really the best sandcastle experience I've ever been involved with.
There were probably upwards of 80 contestant groups, and of course hundreds of people. You can see the tall, tall best of show castle in this picture, along with another view of our fantasy castle.
This boy from San Lorenzo made a castle on his own, and earned First in the 12 and under category! His grin tells the story entirely. I happen to know exactly what that grin feels like.
My favorite sculpture:
The greatest part today, is that Xena showed up and shovelled sand and shlepped mud (the castles hold together so well because the beach has a high mud content). She's been feeling like her Fun Muscles have atrophied. To make it even harder today, she's having a work emergency, and has to put in a bunch of hours over the weekend. But she made an effort to get down to the beach to enter for the first time, which I really appreciate. She did go back to work, later. I could tell that her fun circuit is broken, since she couldn't think of what to make on the castle.
But having been a part of it now, she's already planning how to make it more fun and better, next year!