By Larry Claflin Jr.
Bring your buckets, shovels, trowels, knives and forks — and a love of fun and competition — to Ipswich for the annual Crane Beach SandBlast on Aug. 7.
This year's theme is "You Are What You Eat," and contenders are encouraged to create interpretative sand sculptures at the ocean's edge on the Trustees of Reservations property.
Cash prizes will be awarded in Child, Teen, Family, Adult, Corporate/Organization and Master Builder categories.
In past years, themes have included "Ship to Shore" (2009), honoring Ipswich's history as a coastal community, "Super Heroes Go Green" (2008) and "Save the Wave" (2007).
In 2009, "Abandon Ship — Head to Shore," a sculpture of a pirate ship being attacked by a giant octopus won two awards. It was built by a team of Hamilton and Wenham residents.
The public is invited to view the creations, too, and enjoy music and educational events.
"Last year was a huge turnout for us," said Trina Schell, program and volunteer manager for the Crane Estate, who added the SandBlast has been going on for almost 20 years. "This year, we're going to have some educational, interactive opportunities on the beach front, and live music. ... It will be more than just the sand-castle competition."
Schell said the "You Are What You Eat" theme was chosen to highlight new cooperative efforts with nearby Appleton Farms, and because it fits in with the trends of stainability and local growing.
IF YOU GO
What: Crane Beach SandBlast
Where: Crane Beach on The Crane Estate, Argilla Road, Ipswich
When: Saturday, Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Rain date, Aug. 8)
Cost: Members and nonmembers $7 per group building permit plus regular beach admission
More information: www.craneestate.org, 978-356-4351