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Sand Castle Competition at Rehoboth Beach, DE

Update: As of 10:00 a.m., the Sand Castle Competition was off to a soggy start!



Image Courtesy of Southern Delaware Tourism

Image Courtesy of Southern Delaware Tourism

Most kids and families enjoy building sand castles at some point during their beach vacation. For 2014, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce (RBDBCC) will be holding the 36th Annual Sandcastle Contest on Saturday, August 2, 2014.

Over 100 teams are expected to meet the challenges and create fantastic sand sculpture. Past entries have included Swamp Animals, Mermaids, Pyramids, Crabs, Dolphins, Sharks and of course traditional sandcastles. Beachgoers are welcome to view the incredible creations free of charge.

SCULPTING DEMONSTRATIONS ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 1st– Sand sculpting artist Darrell O’Connor will be on the beach at Rehoboth Avenue & the Boardwalk, 5 – 7 PM on Friday, August 1st giving sculpting demonstrations & lessons. Learn some skills then put them to the test during the competition on Saturday.

COMMUNITY SCULPTURE – Spectators can join in the fun too. Sand sculpting expert Darrell O’Connor will begin work on a community sculpture at 10 AM. Spectators can assist Darrell with this creation; 2 assistants will be allowed in the sculpting zone on a rotating basis every 15 minutes. The sculpture will be completed by 3 PM.

Fisherman’s Beach at the north end of the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, near the Henlopen Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Open to both adults and children.

Business, Adult (15 and older), Children (7-14) & Child (6 and under)

Sculptures may be started at any time on the day of competition, but must be completed for judging by 3:00 PM. Participants may register their entry anytime between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM. Children under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult to register. Registered teams will have the opportunity to purchase Event T-shirts at a discounted rate of $5.00 per shirt.

Begins at 3:00 PM; judges are volunteers for the RBDBCC. Winners will be announced at approximately 5:00 PM.

Prizes will be awarded to the top 10 Judge’s Favorites in both the adult and 7-14 child divisions. 1 Judge’s Favorite award will be given in the Business category. Special awards given to all participants in the 6 & under child’s division.

People’s Choice Awards – Two People’s Choice Awards will be given during this year’s contest. The general public can vote on their favorite ADULT and CHILD division creation, by completing an event evaluation. All regular contest rules apply.

The event is WEATHER DEPENDENT. In the event of bad weather, set up and registration may be delayed up until 10:30 AM. If bad weather continues, the event will be postponed until the following year. If bad weather occurs during the contest, participants may continue at will or at the discretion of lifeguards. Judging may be cancelled at any time if warranted by current weather conditions.

36th Annual Sandcastle Contest
Saturday, August 2, 2014
9:00am to 5:00pm
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Winter at the Beach: Part 3

Banff Merman on display at the Indian Trading Post: Wikipedia: InverseHypercube

While the coast of Delaware may have been treacherous, the Zwaanendael Museum celebrates the rich history of Sussex County by highlighting its maritime connections and stories of the people who lived and worked along Delaware’s southeastern coast.

I found the set of jaw molds altered to display the progress of scurvy particularly interesting, but then my sense of humor often devolves to the level of your average 10 year old. Similarly, the museum has one of two “authentic” mermen specimens in the state. This artifact is actually currently relevant.

Now referred to as Fiji mermen the objects are made up of the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish, covered in papier-mâché. It was a common feature of sideshows, which was presented as the mummified body of a creature that was supposedly half mammal and half fish, a version of traditional mermaid stories.

The exhibit which created the Fiji mermaid concept was popularized by P.T. Barnum, but has since been copied many times in other attractions, including the collection of Robert Ripley. The original exhibit was shown around the United States, but was lost in the 1860s when Barnum’s museum caught fire.

These events took place at around the time people discussed Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species, as it was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review. People from all stations of life began to question their place in the natural order. Hoaxes like the Fiji Mermaid were easily played on unsuspecting sea captains and visitors to the islands.

Welcome to the Zwaanendael Museum, a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military, and social history

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Winter at Beach Part 2: Deep Sea Treasures

Coral encrusted china displayed as art object at Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

Objects recovered from lost ships can be viewed at the Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island, Delaware. An every changing display of coins, jewelry, china and ship artifacts, some recovered from the coast of Delaware and the Chesapeake Bay, tell tales of maritime history. You can try your hand looking for loot along Delaware’s Coin Beach, located north of the Indian River Inlet. The best time for beachcombing is after a nor’easter, said director Dale Clifton. If your hunt is unsuccessful you can always purchase recovered coins at the museum. (

Fabulous jewelry recovered from shipwrecks
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

Explorer, diver; shipwreck historian Dale Clifton displays artifact prior to cleaning and identification
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.