Here they are: Your 2016 Coney sand sculpting contest photos!

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Sandy fun: The Russo family from Cold Spring Harbor built an ode to Coney Island.
Stand out: In his fourth year at the contest, Gilbert Ortega wanted to stand out with his Eiffel Tower creation.
Not your avarage sand castle: Larry Watkins and Tom Oldewurtel, who trekked from New Jersey for the contest, wowed spectators with their “Creature from the Black Lagoon” sculpture.
Finished product: The “Creature from the Black Lagoon” sculpture won first place for the adult group sculptures.

This took more than a grain of talent.

Artists came armed with shovels, pales, and their imagination to compete in the 26th annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest on Aug. 20. The event brought a mix of professionals, novices, and families out to compete for the top prize of $250 and bragging rights — and to enjoy a day of summer fun, one sculptor said.

“It’s great to come out and see everyone creating new things,” said Gilbert Ortega, who created an Eiffel Tower sand sculpture. “I loved every minute of it.”

This year an elaborate “Creature From the Black Lagoon” sculpture by Sea Gate duo Larry Watkins and Tom Oldewurtel won first place in the adult team category, while Jose Aguirre’s “Two Mermaids” took the prize for solo adult sculpture. The family winner was the Andrades clan for its timely “Pokemon Cellphone,” which featured a giant hand holding a smartphone what simply read “Pokemon Coney Island.”

But those who didn’t place at the event still went home with plenty of sandy memories.

“The best part was building the sand sculpture, because we started with a big pile of sand and ended up with a really cool octopus,” said 7-year-old Coney Islander Ella Mignatti, who attended the event with her mother and brother.

Spectators also got to enjoy live music and dance performances.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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