Calculating Attendance at the I.B. Sandcastle Festival

Hi Matthew:
I read that the Sandcastles Festival here in Imperial Beach had over 400,000 visitors during the three-day weekend, more than any previous festival. Any clue how they can possibly calculate that figure and how precise they are able to be in their calculations?

Attendance figures were provided by the Imperial Beach lifeguards. Their method is best described as an “informed guess” inasmuch as there’s no real way to count the people who visit the beach. Lifeguards are out there all day, every day, looking at the ocean and watching the swimmers, boaters, surfers, and sunbathers ebb and flow like human tides. If anyone’s in a position to guess correctly, it’s the lifeguards. To them, the beach is a regular, predictable environment that has its patterns and rules. They can read a busy beach the way meteorologists look at those swirly doppler radar pictures and discern meaning from the chaos. By the by, the IB lifeguards rescued over 300 people last year and nobody drowned on their watch. Kudos.

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Don't know why you would not have been on the distribution list when the memo went out, but the IB Sandcastle competition was canceled this year. Lack of money...or sand..not sure which. Instead the City put together an alternative event on the Broadway Pier, hauling in truckloads of sand and charging $5 for a look. Needless to say, it was not the same. Hopefully, IB will find the funds for 2013, so hang on to your pail and shovel and lets hope for the best.

Oh, I've heard the news for sure. Believe it or not, this last question had been floating around in the Alice Archives since the last sandcastle festival. There's a group that wants to bring back the festival, but they face some stiff opposition based on the fact that it's apparently a major headache to fit that many people into IB over the course of a couple days. Lots of people, like yourself, have their fingers crossed though.

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