In other years past we've been there for the Sandsations Festival which features a huge sand castle building contest. We actually entered the contest one year on a whim, none of us having any experience in building large sand castles. We found our plot (right next to some "competitive" sand castle builders no less), and started working! We actually won the "Judges Choice Award" for our South Park themed sand sculptures! Can you believe it? It was a surprising yet amazing feeling to have hundreds of people surrounding you as created in the sand (and not just our own heckling friends)... The simultaneous "ooohs" and "aahhhs" as things came together (or fell apart) was something to be remembered! I will have to dig out some old photos so you all can see!
If you are interested in going to Long Beach, check out this website for a calendar of events - and book early!