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Sand modeling contest kicks off Lake Superior Day

Nathan Rosty sprays a mist of water onto his sand sculpture of a crab on Park Point on Thursday afternoon to keep its details from crumbling before the judges in the Duluth Parks and Recreation sand modeling contest see it. “My original idea was to do the Enger Tower but the sand sucked — it just kept crumbling,” Rosty said. (Steve Kuchera / / 2
Duluth Parks and Recreation judges Shawna MullenEardley (from left), Joe Moravec and Katie Plachta judge Cole Francisco’s sand model. Francisco, 9, created Skull Island. The contest was part of Lake Superior Day, this year a three-day celebration of the Great Lake and its role in regional life. (Steve Kuchera / 2 / 2

People flocked to Park Point on Thursday to enjoy the warm temperatures, sculpt sand castles with their friends and family, play beach volleyball and dip their feet in the cool Lake Superior water.

 “It is such a beautiful summer day,” said Jesse Schomberg, extension educator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant. “Everyone came out and had a good time.”

Residents were invited to the free annual Park Point Sand Modeling Contest and Water Safety Expo. People could participate in water balloon tosses, tug of war, hula hoop contests and learn about hypothermia and rip currents.

Sarah McKinney brought her sunscreen, shovels, pails and her three nieces to the event.

While McKinney was lying on her beach towel catching sun rays, her nieces were collectively mushing sand together to build a round and wide sandcastle with a couple of rocks on the side and a few short sticks sprouting from the top.

“I love watching them have so much fun,” McKinney said. “This is a great event we attend every year.”

Schomberg and other University of Minnesota Sea Grant officials led a short seminar on hypothermia and rip currents for adults and children. Schomberg hosted a “cold-water challenge” to teach water safety. Children had to hold their hands in a cooler full of ice-cold water for 45 seconds.

“It teaches kids how cold the water can get,” he said. “If your body is in that cold water, then it becomes hard to move or do anything. We want people to watch out for hypothermia.”

Schomberg said the water temperature of Lake Superior was about 54 degrees at 3 p.m.

“The water is still a little too cold to swim in, but occasionally people will stick their feet in (the water),” he said.