Dozens of sand sculptors of all ages and (let's be honest) all abilities carved up Brooklyn's beach by the boardwalk on Saturday for the 24th Annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest.

Hosted this year by the Astella Development Corporation and Brooklyn Community Services, the competition attracted hundreds of spectators to the beach; there was music and corporate giveaways (branded sunglasses, cold beverages), kites flying overhead, lots of snacks, plenty of sun, and just a solid, summery, festive atmosphere.

The sand creations ranged from the expected (various creatures of the deep, Nathan's hot dogs, fairy tale castles and iconic NYC buildings), to the random (the Buddha, medieval weaponry, "Passed Out Dad") to the genuinely poignant (Hector Patino's "Man and Boy", inspired by the recent wave of unaccompanied children immigrants from Mexico and
Central America).

Most of the crews were in it for the fun—one family signed up on the spot and made a big foot "using only hands"—but plenty of folks brought serious sculpting hardware with them, from trowels and smoothers to feather dusters, straws, and industrial-looking water sprayers. There were also several straight-up pros here as well, ringers hired to do the sponsors' logos and such.

And the prizes are no joke: the winner in each of seven different categories took home an impressive $500. You can see all of the winners, and most of the runners up, in the photos above.