WESTPORT, Conn. -- Families dodged the rain as they gathered at Compo Beach in Westport on Saturday to create elaborate sand castles and sculptures for Homes with Hope's 13th annual Castles in the Sand event.
Homes with Hope is a nonprofit based in Westport dedicated to helping the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. The organization provides food, emergency shelter, supportive housing and services to help people become independent and self-sufficient.
"It's been very successful," said Audrey Sparre, vice president of Homes with Hope. "It's a great visual event, and a really good, fun beginning to the summer."
Proceeds from the Castles in the Sand event support the Homes with Hope programs and facilities, which include the Saugatuck Apartments, the Gillespie House and the Bacharach Community. The organization also runs a community kitchen and food pantry, as well as a women's mentoring program.
About 40 groups and families spent the afternoon constructing houses, animals and other works of sand art in 10' x 10' and 20' x 20' lots. Several Golden Shovel awards were given out to winners in categories such as Most Creative, Most Ambitious, Best Mother's Day sculpture and People's Choice.
"Homes with Hope is all about helping people. The real heroes and winners today is everyone standing here," said Peter Cadoux, one of the judges.