Sauble Beach makes way for dogs, hippos and a giant seagull

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Sauble Beach was crowded and hot at Sandfest on Saturday.

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The perfect beach weather drew thousands of people to bask in the wet weather and cool off in the lake.

Many visitors turned out to see the prizes presented to the winners of the annual sand sculpting awards, including Garrett Schultz and Paige Simpson from Toronto.

“It’s the busiest I’ve ever seen,” said Simpson, a 23-year-old who works at a commercial bank. “Oh, last weekend was busier, I think,” said Schultz, 24, a commercial insurance broker.

They had their picture taken with Sunny the seagull, Sauble’s mascot, while they waited to see who won. They both loved one of a group of seven sand sculpted dogs. On the back was engraved “Dogs forbidden”, with a cat next to it.

It was one of the sculptures made by experts, but those made by ordinary people were also impressive.

Toronto’s Garrett Schultz and Paige Simpson snapped a quick shot with Sunny the Seagull at Sauble Beach Sandfest on Saturday August 6, 2022 in Sauble Beach, Ontario. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)

The winner was a mother and baby hippo by Everett Chilian, 13, of Simcoe, and his uncle Eric Freitag, of Burlington. Freitag has participated in sand sculptures in Sauble every year, the event has been offered since 2006, but has never won.

His sons are tall, so he recruited Chilian as his “ringer”, whose idea was to make a hippopotamus. Freitag added the baby. They kept the sculpture intact by spraying water on it every 15 minutes.

There was more than an octopus, a few sharks biting into surfboards and surfers, a gnome on a motorcycle, and an underwater scene, among a few others.

The sand sculptures are cordoned off for protection and will remain on the beach for viewing through at least Sunday, weather permitting.

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“It’s wonderful to see the crowds coming back,” said expert sculptor Gerald Guenkel, who made the motorcycle dwarf, “just to see people having fun on the beach. And that just adds a bit of fun to their walk on the beach.

Guenkel, from Southampton, said he hopes children will be inspired to try sand sculpting after seeing the work at Sauble.

A bylaw enforcement officer was seen interviewing people on the beach and doing the same later on North 3rd Street. With so many people coming to Sauble, the town has already written more tickets this year than all of 2021, the vast majority for drinking on the beach.

To address visitor issues, South Bruce Peninsula Council recently voted to make a “visit responsibly” video that will be available on the town’s website.

It will address “alternative access routes, parking locations, signage, congestion relief in Sauble,” draft minutes from the Aug. 2 council meeting say. It should be ready for next summer.

Council also decided to add security cameras to the Sauble Public Square and 6th Street restrooms and it will add more bylaw enforcement officers.

Sauble recorded 1.44 million visits in 2021, compared to 1.1 million in 2020 and 1.24 million in 2019, according to a report to the council. Visitors are needed and welcomed “wholeheartedly”, he said.

But the mayor said she didn’t want Sauble to gain a reputation as a ‘party beach’.

Freitag, a software developer when he’s not sculpting sand sculptures, said he’s noticed a change at Sauble over the past five or six years.

“It looks more and more like Wasaga. The children arrive for the day. I always thought it was too far to come for the day. And setting up barbecues in the dunes and stuff like that, which is disappointing.

Frietag likes the idea of ​​the video. “I think it’s a good idea. I think the problem is that offenders won’t watch it. To be honest, they only watch TikTok. So if you put it on TikTok, they can see it.

Everett Chilian, 13, left, and Eric Freitag won first prize in the annual Sandfest sand sculpture competition in Sauble Beach, Ont.  Saturday, August 6, 2022. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)
Everett Chilian, 13, left, and Eric Freitag won first prize at the annual Sandfest sand sculpture competition in Sauble Beach, Ont. Saturday, August 6, 2022. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)

Dora W. Clawson