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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : SEAL BEACH

Sandcastle Festival to Focus on Nitty-Gritty of Pollution

September 05, 2000|ALEX MURASHKO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For Kim and Steve Masoner, the huge task of cleaning up a short stretch of beach just south of the San Gabriel River channel begins with baby steps.

The couple, both officials with the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and Business Assn., revived a sandcastle competition last year and turned it into a community awareness and fund-raising event for cleaner oceans, beaches and riverbeds.

This year's Seal Beach Sandcastle Festival 2000, to be held Saturday next to the pier, is expected to draw 30,000 people.

The duo believe that community events such as the sandcastle festival are a chance to educate children about ways to keep beaches clean. They also believe it's an opportunity to lead by example.

When the Seal Beach Host Lions Club was making plans for its annual fish fry this year, Kim Masoner asked club members to consider serving beverages in something other than plastic foam containers. The club obliged by using paper cups.

"It's the little things that really matter," Steve Masoner said.

In preparation for their festival, the Masoners held four sandcastle building workshops this summer. They featured not only the finer details and techniques of creating masterpieces but also a beach cleanup where people armed with bags combed the sands for trash.

On Saturday, the Orange County Sanitation District and Integrated Waste Management Department will have booths with demonstrations and handouts about recycling and tips on proper disposal of toxic waste. Volunteers at another booth will pass out containers for oil recycling.

The Masoners said they have taken on this effort because of the time they spend near the ocean. Daily walks and runs on the 2 1/2-mile stretch of sand and paths along the river channel have enabled them to keep a close eye on signs of pollution.

"We see it every day," Steve Masoner said. The cleanup effort is something that can "benefit every resident here."

The Sandcastle Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free shuttle will run between the pier and the Naval Weapons Station parking lot at Seal Beach Boulevard and Electric Avenue. Information: (562) 799-0179.

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Alex Murashko can be reached at (714) 966-5974.

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