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Turning Sand & Water Into Tradition
Published: 05/11/2018  Updated: 05/15/2018
 
Photo courtesy of Cannon Beach History Center & Museum

From tsunami to an Oregon Heritage Tradition, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest has a colorful 50-plus year history.

A tsunami is credited with being the genesis of the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest. An earthquake in Alaska in March of 1964 created a tsunami wave that washed ashore on the Northwest coast. Cannon Beach's downtown suffered from flooding and the Ecola Creek Bridge was washed away. Local residents got together that summer to put on a community Sandcastle Contest to raise spirits. Recognizing the potential draw of such an event, the event was promoted to the public the next year in an effort to bring tourists back to town. The event grew, began attracting tens of thousands of visitors and more than 50 years later, the Sandcastle Contest weekend is still one of the busiest weekends of the year for Cannon Beach.

In 2014, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest was named an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, making it one of just 11 events statewide to achieve such a designation. An Oregon Heritage Tradition is an event with broad public appeal, with at least 50 years of continuous operation and that contributes to the identity of the state.

The annual Sandcastle Contest is hosted by the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce and is held during the month of June. Event dates are determined by local tide predictions. Current Sandcastle dates and more information can be found at http://www.cannonbeach.org/

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