Some artists started as early at 7 o'clock this morning, creating fabulous sand sculptures for New Jersey's 23rd Annual Sand Castle contest on the beach in Belmar, Monmouth County.
"I think it's fantastic," said Donna Prohammer of Jackson, N.J. "The originality and the creations are just fantastic. They're awesome."
How about the Jersey Shore version of the Great Pyramids, complete with palm trees? Or the U.S. Capitol created by Mary Seminsky in a red, white, and blue bathing suit?
"I planned it maybe a week ago," said Seminsky, of Lake Komo, N.J. "I came at night between six and nine in the moonlight practicing."
Thousands roamed the beach watching the sculptors work. There was the dark mark of Voldamort from Harry Potter, and also one called Sandwarts.
"Hogwarts is where Harry Potter learns to be a wizard," said Charles Austin of Teaneck. "Sandwarts is an assisted living facility for retired wizards."
Some creations have amazing detail, and the sculptors use special techniques to drizzle, carve and model the sand.
"Every year we come up with a new tool and technique to solve problems," said Clint Higgins of Jersey City. "We use dusters to try and smooth out the sand."
It is hard to believe that after all the hard work that's gone into these sculptures, they will be washed away tomorrow. But the artists know that comes with the territory.
"It really doesn't bother me anymore," said Richard Isgard of Freehold. "If it lasts a day or one hundred or two hundred years, really it's all just the blink of an eye, isn't it?"
The overall winner this year is a spoof called "Shells Kitchen" featuring Rachel Ray and Bobby Filet. In sand castles and in life it always helps to have a sense of humor.