The old adage, "Time and Tide wait for no man" certainly held true at SandSations 2007. Traditionally, our annual sandcastle building contest has taken place under relatively decent weather conditions when slight rain or mist has almost always given way to warmth and some sun. SandSations 2006 provided an absolutely amazing day with record crowds, which is why 2007 was so disappointing. Where was the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile?

Apparently a family from Tacoma and one from as far away as San Francisco are asking the sponsors of SandSations to apologize for the antics of Pacific tropical weather system Cosme. On July 21 our normal high tide would have been around 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., so that judging the sand castles at 3:30 p.m. would have worked just fine.

A tropical storm surge caused by Cosme, time and the tide obviously had different plans ... at 1:30 p.m. the city crew had to start pulling the stakes and ropes surrounding many unfinished sand castles. Sometimes we were in knee-deep water. At about this time Cosme also decided to get us wet with an infuriating not quite rain, but pretty close to it. Most fair weather tourists left the beach fairly quickly at this point.

As a city of Long Beach employee let me assure you that we regret not being able to place the sandcastle pens closer to city hall; unfortunately, decent sandcastles require a certain amount of wet sand. Should you have a better idea on sandcastle placement for the 2008 event please feel free to join us. Check out www.funbeach.com for more information.

By the way, the Long Beach City Crew gets paid for setting up these special events; however; SandSations, Beach Run, Kite Festival, Garlic Festival and most other festivals require unpaid volunteers. No one is getting ridiculously rich by providing entertainment for out-of-towners. Any money made by these events goes into a fund for the following year. Without volunteers and donations made by local businesses, tourists visiting the Peninsula would probably be pretty bored. The people who donated a lot of hours and effort to SandSations undoubtedly wish it could have lasted two or three more hours and are way more disappointed than you are.

Oh yeah, I've heard a number of individuals say that the crew will only work for money. What do you work for? Most of us have been involved with setting up tents at festivals and special events for way too many years; however, some of us do volunteer (without pay!) as firemen, Little League football or basketball coaches, as the Long Beach rodeo roadies, or as Christmas tree lighters.

If you have an issue try volunteering for an event in your part of the world; next time you visit us you might appreciate the amount of work and luck it takes to pull one off successfully.

Ralph Warner

Ocean Park

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