Event carves up sandy scares

As Halloween approaches, not all haunted houses will be built for human wandering. Some, especially this weekend, may be better fit for hermit crabs.

The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its 52nd annual sand castle building contest Sunday at Corona del Mar State Beach. Entrants this year will be charged with creating haunted castles out of sand.

Aspiring castle builders of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. Teams interested in competing are asked to register in advance. Entry fees are $60, $40 and $30 for architecture firms, businesses, and families or miscellaneous civic groups, respectively. Limited registration will be available between 9 and 11 a.m. at the beach the morning of the event.

Already more teams have registered this year than last, said chamber President Steve Rosansky. Twenty-three groups had signed up as of Thursday morning.

"It's a good family event," Rosansky said. "Hopefully the competition will be fierce."

Construction will last from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to come admire the structures free of charge any time between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded for a variety of categories, including most humorous castle and best overall creation.

For more information about how to register, visit the Chamber's website at http://www.newportbeach.com/index.asp or call (949) 729-4400.

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