OCEANSIDE — Harbor Days will celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Oceanside Harbor Sept. 28 and Sept. 29.Included in the two days of festivities will be activities that are old favorites like the Nail ‘N’ Sail boat building competition and race.
There will also be new things to do and see this year like the first amateur sandcastle building contest.
The beach side of the harbor will be filled with 220 vendor booths, a food court, a beer garden and a main performance stage. Activities will abound.
On Sept. 28 the American Legion Riders will ride in a motorcycle procession at 9 a.m.
“It’s a brand new thing,” Kristi Hawthorne, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce events coordinator, said. “There will be 60 to 75 motorcycles. The motorcade will ride from the Jolly Roger Restaurant to the harbor event.
Another new event will be the sandcastle building contest. Teams will start at 10 a.m.
Family, business and nonprofit group teams have signed up to compete.
Each team of six will be given a 10-foot-by-10-foot area to create a sandcastle. Teams need to bring their own buckets and digging tools. They can use any brought or found organic materials to decorate their castles.
“They can create anything as large as they want,” Hawthorne said.
Awards will be given at 2 p.m. including a $125 grand prize to the winning team.
The performance stage, beer garden and vendor booths will close at 6 p.m. on Saturday and the Oceanside Yacht Club boat parade will end the day.
On Sunday the Tiki Swim begins at 7:30 a.m. More than 300 swimmers will take off from the Oceanside Pier and south jetty to complete in a 2.4-mile or 1.2-mile open water swim.
Swimmers are expected to finish at Dolphin Dock between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Awards will be given at 10:30 a.m.
The popular Nail ‘N’ Sail boat building competition and race begins at 10:30 a.m. Fourteen teams are already signed up to compete.
“A lot of the same teams come back year, after year, after year,” Hawthorne said. “John Wayne’s Glass has competed for 20 years. They’re a consistent big winner.”
After boats are constructed from a rationed amount of wood, teams decorate their boats, and race them across the width of the harbor and back.
Boat racers paint their vessels and dress in costumes to go with the theme of their team name. Past themes have ranged from nuns to Teletubbies.
Spectators cheer on boat racers from the shore or onboard boats.
“It’s very exciting, everybody knows these folks have made their boats from scratch,” Hawthorne said. “It’s always fun to see folks sink. The crowd cheers them on to stay afloat. The crowd is supportive of each and every team.”
Another event highlight is the Oceanside police K-9 team demonstration that will be given at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days.
More than 30,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the two-day event.
Parking at the harbor and nearby Oceanside Transit Center is free.
There is free double decker bus service from both parking locations.
Harbor Days opens at 9 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. Sept. 28 and 5 p.m. Sept. 29.