Sand pirates at work on Monroe Street Beach

Sand Pirate, Janet Moore Schrader, awarding Justin Katerberg his first place grand prize in the 11 to 15 year-old age bracket of the Sand Castle Contest.Sand Pirate, Janet Moore Schrader, awarding Justin Katerberg his first place grand prize in the 11 to 15 year-old age bracket of the Sand Castle Contest.
Sand Pirate, Janet Moore Schrader, with the four top finishers in the 6 -10 year old age bracket of the Sand Castle Contest at the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show.  Awarded the grand prize was Remington Gross, second from right.

Sand Pirate, Janet Moore Schrader, with the four top finishers in the 6 -10 year old age bracket of the Sand Castle Contest at the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show. Awarded the grand prize was Remington Gross, second from right.

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

Saturday, March 28, the Squire visited DeVos Place to attend the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show.  We’ve been attending a lot of these shows lately. They are a breath of spring and a harbinger of better (make that warmer) days to come.

Upon entering the Great Hall we almost stumbled into a huge sandbox! The show’s promoter, Showspan Inc., had created a humongous 900 sq. ft. indoor beach. The sandbox was dubbed the Monroe Street Beach because it fronted an area just inside the DeVos Place Monroe Ave. windows.

There kids and adults alike had kicked off their shoes, grabbed a pail and shovel, and were creating sand castles.  Overseeing it all was expert sand sculptor Janet Moore Schrader, The Sand Pirate. It was hard to say who was having more fun, the kids or their parents. The adults proved the old adage, “You can only be young once, but you can always be immature”.

Every day of the three-day show featured a beach event and Saturday’s event was a sand castle building contest.  There were grand prize winners in two age categories, 6 – 10 and ll – 15 years old.  The kids were having a blast while their parents proudly snapped pictures with their phones and cameras.  Schrader, acting as the official judge, chose two first place winners in each category.  Remington Gross, 9, was the winner in the 6 – 10 year-old bracket and Justin Katerberg, 13, was judged champion in the 11 – 15 year-old category.

What made this event of special interest to your Rockford Squire reporters was the fact that Rockford’s own Aunt Candy’s Toy Company had generously donated the grand prizes.  The winners were blown away with each receiving an Ultimate Beach Package consisting of a huge wicker basket chock full of age-appropriate beach toys and games, which also included an in-store gift certificate.  Each prize had a retail value of $250.

During the three-day event Schrader offered lessons to budding sand sculptors, both young and old alike, and on Sunday led all interested kids in what is arguably the best part of the sand castle experience – DESTROYING IT!

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