The ambitious efforts of 12 professional sand castle builders and more than 1,500 volunteers drew an estimated crowd of 135,000 over the weekend and 8,000 more on Monday, said organizers of the 1987 United Way Sandcastle Festival.
The event, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is expected to net about $50,000 for the umbrella charity organization.
"That's excellent," said Joyce Fruhlinger, director of special events for United Way. "We're real pleased."
For the last four years, United Way has sponsored sand castle building contests, but this was the first sand castle fund-raiser.
The festival is the opener of a campaign to raise $17.4 million for 122 agencies served by United Way of Orange County.
Guided tours of the sand structures cost $2 for adults, $5 for families and $1 for seniors and children. Over the weekend, crowds waited up to 90 minutes for tours.
The three-story-high complex of 56 sand sculptures will be demolished at 7 a.m. Wednesday.