Why are Nessie, a fire-breathing dragon, a kraken from the briny deep and a jackalope duking it out this summer at Park Place?

It’s because this year’s ‘Canstruction Tucson’ is underway, bigger and better than ever, and benefiting the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona for a third year.

Canstruction is a competition where groups of talented designers and builders collaborate with area businesses to create sculptures from canned goods and other non-perishable food items. At the end of the competition, the food and all proceeds are donated to the Community Food Bank.

This year’s theme? Mythical Creatures.

“I think we all are just kind of amazed that you could take those kind of cans and make what they’ve made,” says Norma Cable of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“Those are not small structures. There are hundreds of cans that have gone into Nessie alone rising out of the water. So, fantastic for them to work on this kind of a scale portraying what they are, we love it.”

“The designs are great…details down to the color of the can that’s being used to represent water,” Cable said to me.

I had the honor this of helping judge this year’s four submissions.

In addition, the public can also ‘donate to vote’ on the can sculptures here at the Food Bank website. Voting will be open through Wednesday, July 10. Sculptures are on display at Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.

In addition to the fun displays raising awareness, Canstruction also brings some of the most in-demand canned goods straight to the Food Bank.

“What we also love about this is that these are made up of some of our most popular donations that we are constantly requesting and that would be tuna, the canned vegetables, the canned beans, the packages of beans, the bags of rice,” said Cable. “Those are all among the items that we ask for donations all year round.”

Sculptures are currently on display through the first week of July at Park Place, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.