Build it ... and the rain will come? That was the case Saturday afternoon when families gathered at Penfield Beach for the Fairfield Police Athletic League's Sandcastle Sculpture Contest.

Just as judging was completed for this annual Fairfield rite of summer, the heavens opened and washed away the beachfront sculptures.

The weather, which had been suspect all morning, put a dent in attendance -- only 14 entered this year's contest compared to the usual field of about 50 in past years/

That failed to dampen spirits, however.

Families scrambled around in the sand, fashioning the sand into creations such as depicting the Queen of England parachuting Olympics-style, a giant land shark, the Olympic Games rings, a mini Citifield stadium and replicas of New York City landmarks.

Others local for local inspiration, with renderings of the iconic Penfield Reef Lighthouse right off Fairfield's shoreline among the entries.

Movie tickets were the prizes for top sand sculptors in four categories: Most Artistic, Most Realistic, Most Original and Best Castle.

"Cloudy and windy was the forecast today, and the same for tomorrow, our rain date," said Bob Seirup, the event's director. "We decided to just go ahead with it. Our top attendance in the past was 72 entrants, two years ago. Families work together on their sculptures. Our judges take into consideration family cooperation and that kids aren't just pushed to the side."

Seirup explained that PAL's mission to provide positive activities in town and promote relations between police and the public. "This event achieves that," he said.

A town emergency services coordinator at present, 60-year-old Seirup said there was no sandcastle contest like this when he was a kid. "We did have the fishing derby though. When I was playing in Babe Ruth baseball when I was 13 and we lost our sponsor, PAL stepped in. Even though they already sponsored a team, they didn't want us to go without support. That inspired me to join PAL years later."

At one end of the beach, the Gremse and Muller families of Fairfield were creating a 15-foot-long shark, using flat shells for teeth. Tommy Gremse, 6, and Brice Muller, 7, joked around placing their heads in the shark's mouth and then shrieked.

In the middle of the beach, Amy Lynders, 13, of Shelton, fashioned her sandy version of Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the Olympcis staudium, which was staged as part of the Friday opening ceremony in London.

Elsewhere, the Romatzick children, visiting their great-grandparents in Fairfield, were building a "soapy sandcastle". Their grandmother, Susan, said, They're having the time of their lives," Susan said.

To learn more about Fairfield Police Athletic League programs, visit