- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) - Dozens of sand sculptors braved tricky weather conditions to create their designs at a central New Jersey beach.

The Belmar Tourism Commission staged its 29th annual sandcastle competition Wednesday morning, despite storms containing steady rains and lightning that eventually spurred authorities to clear the beach and end the event prematurely.

The contest was open to people of all ages, with individual and group prizes up for grabs in various categories. Besides the numerous castles, other entries included an alligator, a cartoon bear and a beach ball with flip-flops.

Contestants were on the beach for nearly two hours before the event was stopped for safety reasons.

Organizers said the sculptures would be judged based on their progress before the contest ended. The winners will be announced at a later date.

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