Courtesy of LEAP

Popular youth sandcastle contest postponed due to federal shutdown

A popular youth sandcastle contest on Ocean Beach is the latest local victim of the federal government shutdown, event organizers said Tuesday.

The Leap 30th Anniversary Sandcastle Contest was planned for Saturday, but the continued standoff in Congress over the federal budget is causing organizers to postpone the event until a later date.

Thousands of people were expected to attend the free event, with more than 20 local schools participating. Leap, a local arts advocacy nonprofit, has held the contest for the past three decades.

In a letter sent to participating schools and teams, event organizers said officials with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area notified them Monday that the contest could no longer take place since Ocean Beach is part of the GGNRA and is closed.

Because a budget was not passed by Oct. 1, all federal services deemed “non-essential” have been shut down until an agreement is reached.

“We were told that we could be fined for trespassing and that our permit was no longer valid,” the letter said. “We were also told that our event could be shut down by park rangers or by San Francisco police.”

Supervisor Eric Mar, who represents the Richmond district, said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the postponement is leading to “probably hundreds of very sad and unhappy kids.” Mar said, “Making sandcastles was one of the most fun things I ever did as a kid.”

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