Sand Sculpture Shindigs: A Bucket List


Your days at the beach with a bucket and shovel making castles in the sand were child’s play compared to what you’ll see at sand sculpting events. There, the massive, inventive, intricate works of art go so far beyond “sand castles.” You’ll never look at sand and water the same way again. (Keep reminding yourself—it is just sand and water.) On Day One of a contest, a solo sculptor or “carver” is presented with a 10-ton pyramid of sand (two-person teams in doubles competition work with 20 to 25 tons). Then, through a rigorous process of shoveling, packing, stacking and carving, a sculpture takes shape. Spectators can watch it all — from the first day “pound up” in which the sand is compressed, to the hours of carving with manual tools such as trowels, butter knives, tablespoons and drinking straws, plus some that the sculptors devise for themselves. (Dutch sculptor Wilfred Stijger’s patented Willysphere — inspired by the base of a wine glass — makes perfect sand spheres.)

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