Shutdown postpones Ocean Beach sandcastle contest

The political gamesmanship of the federal government shutdown has claimed another casualty, forcing the postponement of this Saturday’s Ocean Beach sandcastle contest.

Contest sponsor Leap Arts in Education announced Tuesday the shutdown has forced the group to postpone indefinitely the 30th annual edition of their sandcastle-building showcase.

Leap development director Troy Coalman told SFBay:

“We tried all morning to save this, it’s not going to happen. … We’re devastated, obviously. We’ll reschedule when the government reopens, we don’t know when that will be.”

As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Ocean Beach relies upon National Park Service staff for oversight, maintenance and safety. Without staffing at the beach, the contest could not move forward.

Leap’s sandcastle contest brings hundreds of local elementary school students together with representatives from some of the largest architecture and building firms in the Bay Area, with the event serving as Leap’s primary fundraising vehicle.

Julie McDonald, Leap’s executive director, said in a statement:

“This shutdown is petty and it’s pointless, and it’s harming more than just government employees. … I want to urge everyone to pick up the phone and call their Congressperson today to request that the federal government becomes fully operational.”

Leap provides arts education programs to more than 30 schools and 7,000 students across the San Francisco Bay Area. SFBay is a media sponsor of the sandcastle contest.