Every year in the fall, Leap orchestrates the spectacular Sandcastle Classic, a spirited competition between teams of architects, engineers, contractors, designers and local elementary school students. This event enables Leap to team up artists and architects to develop hands-on, participatory programs for the specific classroom and to integrate the arts and architecture into the school’s curriculum.
Before the event, architects and builders meet with schoolchildren in the classroom to develop ideas based on a set theme. Plans are finalized, clay models are shaped, team structure and schedules are defined, and tasks are assigned, all in preparation for the big day.
On the morning of the event, teams arrive and await the whistle that signals the start of the contest. As soon as it sounds, four hours of intensive building begin. By the end of the day, the beach has transformed into a magical land of creatures, structures and characters.
The event began in 1983 and quickly became hugely popular. The first fifteen competitions were held at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Over the years, the Sandcastle Classic became so large that it was moved to the more expansive Ocean Beach, where thousands of people come to watch each year. The Sandcastle Classic is now the largest sandcastle event in Northern California.