Participants in the annual Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting Competition came out on top when they showed support for their country.

Fifty-four teams participated in this year's competition on Saturday at Isle of Palms' Front Beach. Among the winners were groups who memorialized the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.

Best in Show went to the Bienkoski family, who were participating in the contest for the first time, for their sculpture, "Raising the Flag over Iwo Jima."

"It was just a way to pay tribute to anybody in any branch who served," Marine veteran Stephen Bienkoski said.

Chris Tindal, who has been volunteer coordinator for the event for 19 years, said it always draws a crowd.

"We have a great turnout every single year," he said. "We had 40 different teams that were pre-registered before yesterday."

In addition to Best of Show, first, second and third place awards were given in six categories: children, young adults, families, adults, most creative and best architectural.

Some of the winners include "Game of Sand," which played off "Game of Thrones" and won for best architecture, and "Bee on Me," a huge face with a bee on it which won in the family category.

To Bienkoski, winning the highest prize of the day was secondary to the experience itself.

"It feels cool to be able to be a family and make a memory like this," Bienkoski said.

Jessica Cabe is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.