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Call It the Castle Del: Sculptor Plays Santa to Hotel Visitors at Yule Time

Bill Pavlacka uses only sand and water for his beach creations—which can last nearly three weeks.

Bill Pavlacka is a professional sand castle builder, but last week his beach creation near the Hotel Del Coronado was a labor of love.

“Just making it for everybody to enjoy the holidays,” Pavlacka said Thursday night a couple hundred feet from the hotel’s Skating by the Sea rink.  “I make it up as I go—just pile up the sand.”

He says people wandering out to see what the lights are about thank him for his efforts. But despite using only sand and water, some children are skeptical.

“A lot of kids don’t believe it’s sand,” said the 52-year-old Paradise Hills resident. “ ‘It’s not real.’ I hear that all the time with the kids. No, it’s real.”

It took him 12 hours to build the castle (with an added snowman nearby), he said. Half went up one day and half the next. His summertime castles are popular, too.

“They stay up a week or two sometimes,” he said. “Last one I built (west of the Hotel Del) was up for 19 days.”

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