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Sandcastle contest in Imperial Beach has seen its final summer

The national recession has claimed another victim: the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition is shutting down after 31 years of holding its summer event in Imperial Beach in southern San Diego County.

"Sandcastle has had a long, successful history and put Imperial Beach on the map," Mayor Jim Janney said.

Last summer the nonprofit, free-admission, three-day event drew upward of 400,000 people.

But increased costs and the mounting difficulty of finding volunteer workers and sponsors has led the event's board of directors to call it quits.

The decision "was not one taken lightly and weighed heavily upon us," said board chairwoman Debbie Longley.


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Photo: Competitors working on their underwater roller-coaster design at the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition in Imperial Beach. Credit: Courtney Hergesheimer / Los Angeles Times

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