The Sun & Sea Festival derives its name from Imperial Beach’s original public festival of the same name that was held beginning in 1960 to celebrate the date of the city’s incorporation. This annual community celebration featured a sand sculpting competition.
Imperial Beach also was the site of the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition for 32 years, from 1980 to 2011. When that annual event ended, the Port decided to initiate a more family-oriented event for the Imperial Beach community.
The Port produced IB Kids Fest at Pier Plaza in June 2012, and then reignited the tradition of the original IB celebration with a new Sun & Sea Festival, which featured a professional sand sculpture display and the children’s Kids ‘N Kastles competition, in June 2013.
In 2015 the Sun & Sea Festival reached back to the historic roots and expanded the family-oriented theme by enlarging the Farmer’s Market and International Food Fair, and by providing a “Kids only” zone filled with entertainment and activities at Dunes Park next to the Kids ‘n Kastles competition held on the sand.
The 2016 event will honor the City of Imperial Beach’s 60th anniversary celebration.