The beach town of Cayucos was packed Monday morning for the 4th of July sand sculpture event and parade.
"I'm in my family of five and we've all been out here since 4:30 this morning," said Bradley Kennedy, sand sculpture contest participant.
People got up extra early to start working on their sand sculptures. The event has been a tradition in Cayucos for more than 30 years.
"It's almost like baking a cake," Kennedy explained. "It's like you want to add a couple of shovels of sand and then you want to add a little bit of water and then you just repeat, repeat, repeat, and then eventually you've got a nice, solid formation that you can carve with."
Organizers say in 2019, they counted more than 30 sand sculptures. This year, there were nearly 20.
"Maybe because it's a Monday, it's the holiday and the word hasn't got out that we're up and running again," said Ray Bruno, Cayucos sand sculpture event organizer.
Almost every participant received a gift card. Then, it was time for the Front Street Faire and the 4th of July parade down Ocean Avenue.
"Love it. Love the excitement. Love the people," said Dee Kesl who was part of the crowd watching the parade.
This was the first official parade since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; 44 floats made their way through town.
"It's just so fun. It's just such an enjoyable time of the year. It was nice just to get out. Yeah, it's been a while, so it's nice to see you, and everyone's dressed in your red, white and blue," Kesl added.
The Front Street Faire features multiple vendors and continues until 6 p.m. A fireworks show will start at 9 p.m. at the Cayucos Pier.