Sandcastle contest washed away by shutdown

Park ranger supervision required for charity event

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An annual San Francisco sandcastle contest for elementary school children has been indefinitely scrapped this year because of the government shutdown.

The contest, held at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, pairs students from 26 elementary schools with adults and design firms, then lets them loose to build for sandcastles for charity, according to the San Francisco Gate.

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The beach, however, is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which requires park ranger supervision for all events — putting this year’s contest in jeopardy.

“We are in purgatory right now,” said Julie MacDonald, executive director of Leap, a San Francisco nonprofit that uses the contest as a fundraiser to support art education programs in Bay Area schools, the Gate reported. “We have every intention of holding the event, but we’re powerless to reschedule until the government is fully operational.”

Last year, the event raised $253,000 for Leap, the Gate reported. The money is used to hire artists to work with students in three nearby counties.

Planners hope the shutdown will end soon enough to reschedule the event for the near future.

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