Sandcastle Festival 2018

There must be a lot of people without air-conditioning or maybe Cobourg’s Beach simply draws big crowds.  I checked it out today and although there were thousands on the beach, I didn’t see any signs directing people to the Sidewalk sale – but then there were so many people a sign would get lost.  It was perfect beach weather – hot and humid; lots of people spent time in the water and although there were quite a number of “master sculptors”, there didn’t seem to be many amateurs. Parking was scarce (and/or expensive) so many had a long walk and just maybe they went via downtown.   There was a DJ blasting music from a spot on the boardwalk and when I visited around 2:00 pm the new beach beer canteen was in full swing.  Unfortunately, its live entertainment was almost drowned out by the DJ.

One of the many sandcastles
One of the many sandcastles

I saw that the two new lifeguard stations had been installed and were in use – although all four old stations were still there [Update – removed on Aug 7].  Auxiliary Police were visible although not regular police.  Bylaw enforcement people were active although I don’t know what tickets they might have issued.  It’s unlikely they stopped many infractions since there were simply too many people to see everything that was being done.

To round out the evening, the Town puts on a Movie in the Park – today’s was Sherlock Gnomes and I estimated around 500 people were there.  The Marie Dressler Foundation commissioned (at Cardboard Reality Studio in Roseneath) a Black and White stick cartoon aimed at publicizing Marie Dressler’s 150th birthday and the celebratory events that will be happening in Cobourg.  It was shown 4 times at the beginning of the movie. Oh, and once again, the town put on fireworks at the end of the movie.

The Sandcastle Festival and the beach are certainly big tourist draws for Cobourg – let’s hope the Sidewalk sale was equally successful for merchants.

Here’s a video taken at around 2:30 on Saturday afternoon.

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Walter L. Luedtke

I guess some one at the Town reads these articles or they had a lot of Complaints from car owners that could not get their cars out of the Paring lots at the foot of Division as the town put up Parking lots full signs there for the rest of the week end , Thus sending all that Traffic 4 to 5 times more traffic westerly across the Esplanade
in front of all the Town Homes and Condo’s Bet the Local Residents Loved That .

Grumpy Local

When is Cobourg going to wake up to the reality that the overcrowded beach is not a bonanza for downtown retail?

I say charge out of towners for use of the beach (locals can perhaps get a free beach pass with their tax bill?) and on top of that.. do something creative to direct they freeloaders to visit our wonderful downtown.

Our lovely beach should not be as crowded as noted on the weekend.. it just isn’t sustainable.

Wally Keeler

“… do something creative …”

This is the call of the Mediocre. They have zero capacity for creativity themselves so they demand it of others. PRZT! to that. C’mon Grumpy Local, give us a creative idea of your own, instead of arrogantly demanding your undeserved entitlement.

Wally Keeler

” the overcrowded beach is not a bonanza for downtown retail?”

The beach was not overcrowded. There was plenty of space for several hundred more. It may not be a “bonanza” for downtown retail, but it certainly does provide good revenue, otherwise why would a majority of businesses believe that tourism is a economic benefit to the Town. The contention that the Town does not benefit from Tourists has been pretty well debunked as a fantasy of the Grumps, Gripes and Groaners. The persistence of this fake news does not make it true.

Grumpy Local

Interesting that my comment got 3 thumbs up… your comments registered two negative thumbs down.

Wally… perhaps you should take my name… you seem a much Grumpier Local than I!

But thanks for the chuckle at least! I can just picture your fists banging on your Formica table as you read my earlier comments… which I do stand behind. There are enough retailers complaining that there are never any beach tourist traffic downtown…. locals complaining of noise, garbage and unavailable parking spots.

You views put you in a distant minority.

Wally Keeler

Obviously you are a troll, and not a very good one at that.

Bill Thompson

Where were the life guards when a young boy had to be rescued by the Coast Guard beyond the red floats on Saturday ?

Coast Guard in Cobourg rescue boy in distress, stranded sailboat

Mrs. Anonymous

Judging from John’s video showing the number of people, I wouldn’t be surprised if the lifeguards were completely overwhelmed with the crowd. Tough to fault them for missing someone among all those people.

Bill Thompson

There was no intent to fault the lifeguards ,just pointing out the dangers of the overcrowded beach.

Mrs. Anonymous

Point taken:).

Wally Keeler

“...just pointing out the dangers of the overcrowded beach.”

If the boat grounded inside the harbour as you stated, then what does that have to do with an “overcrowded beach”? And why did you think lifeguards had any responsibility to play a role in this incident?

Wally Keeler

The sailboat is required to stay outside the bounds of the orange markers, and it was. The lifeguard’s first responsibility is to watch bathers inside the marked zone. Where should the limit be for lifeguards — the horizon? If lifeguards are scanning all the watercraft outside the zone, then they are being remiss in watching over all the bathers inside the zone.

I was there yesterday when a lifeguard on one of the new platforms brought out a megaphone to inform two kayakers to get outside of the bathers zone. The lifeguards were not inside the ‘hut’ but always standing on the front porch, ready for action when required.

manfred s

hey there ‘thumbs downers”, please explain your ‘disapproval’ of this logical comment

Wally Keeler

That will never happen Manfred. The thumbs down has nothing to do whether they approve of the comment. It has much more to do with disapproval of the commentator. It’s childish, but alas, …

manfred s

perhaps, but no harm in asking anyway

Bill Thompson

The sailboat was stuck inside the harbour not standing off the beach

Wally Keeler

Then why did you ask, “Where were the life guards when a young boy had to be rescued by the Coast Guard beyond the red floats on Saturday ?

The answer; they were at their lifeguard stands doing their duty.

Bill Thompson

In response to your question above “Why did you ask “Where were the lifeguards etc ?
That is a straightforward question as the boy was in peril directly off the beach.which is the area of responsibility of the lifeguards.
Your response stating ” The sailboat is required to stay outside the bounds of the orange markers, and it was,”
“The lifeguard’s first responsibility is to watch bathers inside the marked zone. Where should the limit be for lifeguards — the horizon? “If lifeguards are scanning all the watercraft outside the zone, then they are being remiss in watching over all the bathers inside the zone.”

The sail boat was stuck in the harbour mud…not offshore the swimming area ….and nothing to do with lifeguard responsibility.
Obviously you confused the two situations as being in the same area at the same time.
I hope that clarifies the situation as obviously you misunderstood my posting and the meaning of it.

Wally Keeler

as you had missed the date and mistakes proceeded from that.


The two rescues (boy & boat) were not this weekend.

Bill Thompson

You’re absolutely right about the date .I should have noticed that.
The same scenario still remains however and should be of concern where the beach is so overcrowded as it was this weekend
It took a person on the east pier to hear the boy’s calls for help as nobody on the beach was aware and a life could have been lost.
That is the sole point of my comments.

Old Sailor

Hard to imagine a sailboat owner with a measurable IQ running aground in sand near or in a Lake Ontario port. The owner of the boat should spring for a depth sounder, a GPS chart map and a printed nautical chart of the coastal shoreline. Or just stay tied up at dock and enjoy another Margarita.


Very little parking is correct
but the most frustrating thing for a lot of people were the Large Grey Coach busses that blocked the cars in for 30 mins. +++ at a time about 11 of them in all
that were bringing Tourists the buses could not find places to back out or Turn around . this happened in the AM when they arrived and again through the afternoon as they returned to pick up the foreign tourists .
They should think about a drop off zone on Queen st directly north of the Band shell.
That would work for all events

Wally Keeler

good idea

, BC,

Watching this nearly 3000 miles away in sunny Sidney by the Sea, BC, all one could say was a very loud WOW.
So many people on that beautiful Cobourg beach, one that almost disappeared a couple of years ago. Congratulations to all who volunteered their time to make this event happen and as ever a grateful “Thank you”
to you, John Draper, for bringing the daily news of Cobourg to me.

Walter L. Luedtke

Congratulations to Jackie Chapman Davis and her team for an outstanding event.

Wally Keeler

A Sandcastle Fest on Cobourg Beach. What could be more appropoetic. The vast expanse of beach and a barren east pier would lend themselves to an Eco-Friendly Kite Festival. Cobourg has the venue for this. The Toronto Kite Fliers, ( the oldest Kite Club in Canada, would love to be invited. Just as the Sandcastle event is a display of creativity, the same for a Kite Fest. This is a family oriented event, making a kite to fly with the pros. It is an opportunity for a local business to sell kite-making kits, or a workshop booth with kite making. This is what the skies over Cobourg Beach could look like; and for those who may have missed it, here is an example of some skillful kite flying on Cobourg Beach a few years ago;

Walter L. Luedtke

Excellent idea!

Miriam Mutton

Kite flying … great idea for participants and spectators.. From the videos, looked like the events can take place in cooler times of spring and fall too. And on the topic of cool … the video link to kite flying set to the music of AC/DC is awesome.

Wally Keeler

Yes, this could be an off-season event, perhaps late Sept, or October when the winds blow hard. And the skill of that AC/DC kite flier was also awesome. Today I saw three kites over the beach; one was a jellyfish, the other a bat, and a third, a caterpillar made of 40 small kites. (Btw, none of the three kite fliers were from Cobourg)

Merry Mary

What extraordinarily fantastic work you always complete for others, John Draper!