Nineteen-month-old Spencer Kubic grabbed fistfuls of sand Saturday and tossed them into the air, while his 3-year-old sister, Aly, dashed from the top to the bottom of a soft, white sand pile.
Nearby, 4-year-old Nnedria Quila covered her hands in the white stuff and balanced the tiny formations of sand as she walked to her sister, Ziza, 9.
“They are having a blast,” said Benjamin Kubic, father to Spencer and Aly.
The youngsters’ families couldn’t get to the beach this weekend, but the beach came to them when the city of Columbia brought truckloads of sand to Finlay Park for the annual Capital City Beach Party.
The sand was cool to the feet and the vibe was laid-back as revelers dug for buried treasure, tossed balls, played corn hole and splashed in the Palmetto Splash sprinkler.
It was a relaxed way to wrap up the Independence Day weekend, too, said Tyra Quila, the girls’ mother, since she had work on Friday, the July 4th holiday.
This was the second year Kubic and his wife, Katie, had brought the children to the beach party. They could relax on the grass at the end of the “beach” and keep a close eye on the frolicking children. “They can’t get really lost in the sand,” he chuckled.
In the afternoon, James Patrick Allen, owner of MBS Fitness, urged the crowd to get up and get moving, and soon had adults and children line dancing to such favorites as the “Cupid Shuffle.”
“I’m going to say these kids are eating about six ounces of sand each. They won’t be hungry for a week,” Allen told the crowd.
Phyllis Sellers and friends from her group, the GC Capital Steppers of Columbia and Grooves Urban Ballroom, planted a tent near the beach early in the day and unwrapped platters of delicious tailgate food.
“We’ve got pimiento cheese, deviled eggs and spinach artichoke dip,” she said, reciting some of her menu, as her friends noted she was the “Martha Stewart” of the crowd.
James Sockwell, a recent transplant from Washington, D.C., watched the contests and dancing from a vantage point under a tree.
Just retired from the U.S. Naval Academy’s Officer’s Club, Sockwell said he was checking out the event to get a feel for Columbia. “This kind of thing goes on all the time in Washington,” he said. “It’s nice.”
Many people were drawn to the beach party because of the headliner band, Episode, which evolved out of the iconic beach music band, The Drifters with Bill Pinkney.
Baritone Charles Fowler, the last surviving member of the group following Pinkney’s death in 2008, formed the new group with two former members and two others who had sung with the group.
Beach partygoers moved their chairs closer to the amphitheater stage when the five band members emerged from backstage and embarked on such favorites as “There Goes My Baby” and “This Magic Moment.”
To top off the evening, a fireworks display delighted the crowd.