Castles in the sand may melt into the sea, but their temporary beauty makes for a sea change.

That was the case Saturday as Penfield Beach was transformed into a magical landscape during the Fairfield Police Athletic League’s 16th annual Sand Sculpture Contest.

Dozens of teams took part, fashioning the seaside sand into works of creativity.

“We do event all year that are positive activities for the kids in town,” said Bob Seirup, the PAL secretary. “This is just a free event to promote families and community.”

Once the tide had moved far enough off shore, participants began building their entries, vying for prizes in various categories, including Most Artistic, Most Realistic, Most Original and Best Castle.

“It’s lots of fun,” said Chris Vinci of Fairfield, who was working with his son. “Everybody loves sandcastles, right?”

Among the creations were sea animals, including lobsters and hermit crabs, while others were unexpected, such as a remarkable likeness of Stewie from the television show, “Family Guy.”

“It’s really fun,” said Ava Wacha, 9, of Fairfield, “and it’s really artistic. I like how there’s different creatures and sandcastles, and they’re just not plain sandcastles.”

“It’s just getting the kids involved with their families, building something constructive,” said Officer Paul Medvegy. “it’s just a positive event.”

“It’s a great community effort, everybody participating and everybody really in a good mood,” said Samuel Bliman of Fairfield, who came to watch with his 2-year-old grandson Jake.

“It’s such a fun family event,” said Robin Hurlbut of Fairfield, who helped her daughters create a prize-winning hermit crab. “It gets everybody involved and it’s great to be outdoors having fun.”

“We look forward to it every year,” she said.

Following is the list of winners in the Fairfield PAL Sand Sculpture Contest:

Most Artistic: First, Mermaid by Emma Flynn, Caroline Flynn, Georgia Flynn, Grace Ricco and Kalli Jacobsen; second, Mermaid by the Dinerstein, White, Charles, Bateman and Kessler families, and third, Hermit the Crab by Alexa, Lucy and Robin Hurlbut

Most Realistic: First, Scary Shark by Daniela, Oscar, Emanuel and Mayra Otalora and Erika and Yazmin Velandia; second, Lobster by Ava, Brian, and Lori Wacha, and third, Sting Ray by the Cunningham family.

Most Original: First, Putt-Putt Golf by Teddy Heyn, Mary Heyn, Jane Peltier and John Peltier; second, Pool Table by Owen, Dylan, Chris and Emily Sherman, and third, Aquarium by Scarlett Robbins, Phoebe Robbins, Will Donohue and Caroline Donohue.

Best Castle: First, Castle with Flags byZoe, Alex, Rich, Chanda, Dick, Stephanie and Cinnie Kazarian; second, Castle Village by Ellery Sullivan, Ben Sullivan, Kris Sullivan and Eric Sullivan, and third, Castle Island with Moat by Miles and Rich Pinto.