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One of life’s simplest pleasures only takes a pail, a shovel, some helping hands and a whole lot of imagination. The 19th anniversary of Yoshida’s Sand in the City is here. July 18, 19 and 20, Pioneer Courthouse Square becomes the next best thing to a beachside paradise. The only difference (other than no ocean, of course) is that these sandcastle-inspired creations are not your average child’s play.
Highly artistic and technically mind-boggling, this artistry requires dedicated teams of dozens of people in order to take shape. Each sand sculpture is a structural and design feat of sandbox mastery. Over one long weekend, 12 corporate teams (see sidebar) will practice what they’ve learned about building a solid structure from wood, forming foundations by packing precise ratios of water to sand, utilizing a complicated set of spatulas, knives and shovels and working together as a team to ensure every step in the delicate sculpture process is strong, sound and beautiful.
Sand in the City began in 1996 as a fundraising event with Junki Yoshida and 13 corporate teams raising money in support of the Kids on the Block awareness program, a nonprofit that used puppets to educate children about accepting others with disabilities. Yoshida’s, along with Hoffman Construction Company, have participated as major sponsors from the beginning, coordinating the arrival and removal of more than 140 tons of sand.
Yoshida’s Sand in the City is run by an all-volunteer group of legacy “sand” leaders. Corporate teams are matched with the design expertise of local architectural firms. Each team receives training and support as they prepare for the annual July competition.
Yoshida’s Sand in the City brings thousands of visitors to the event annually, with an average of 260 sand builders and 300 volunteers, totaling nearly 2,000 total volunteer hours. But the real winners are all the children who are helped as a result of this fundraising event. The event mission is to make a positive difference for children, and annually, 80,000 children are touched by the funds donated to local charities. The vision is to help local children in need by inviting teams of adults to play in the sand, exercise their creativity and raise funds. (See sidebar for list of this year’s beneficiaries.)
In addition to the walk-through to view all the sand creations as they are in progress and completed, entertainment for the whole family will also be provided throughout the weekend. Friday there be hits played on the square, courtesy of 98.7 The Bull, and live music presented by the rock ’n’ roll cover band 90 Proof. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Radio Disney will provide live interactive entertainment, and at 6 p.m. the band East on 14 will play live hits of the 1970s through the ’90s, until Petty Fever (tribute band) takes the stage. Sunday at noon the Power Pep marching band performs.
Yoshida’s Sand in the City is always a favorite summertime family-friendly event, and we encourage you to visit Portland’s biggest sandbox at Pioneer Courthouse Square to get inspired and support some wonderful local organizations making a positive difference in the lives of local families. For more information visit www.sandinthecitypdx.org.