The triumphant return of the US’ sandcastle championships


Port Aransas, a small town in Texas, becomes a bustling hub every April for the Texas SandFest. This festival attracts tens of thousands of people from around the world who come to see impressive sand sculptures.

Started in the 1990s by two local women, Texas SandFest has grown into the largest sand-sculpting competition using only native sand. From humble beginnings, it now draws crowds of up to 30,000 visitors a day.

In 2021, the festival faced challenges due to pandemic restrictions in Texas. Despite this, it went ahead with limited attendance and some artists used their sculptures to make political statements. However, this year, with restrictions lifted, the focus is back on fun and creativity.

The competition features 28 professional sculptors from the US, Canada, and Bulgaria, competing for a $2,000 grand prize. They create stunning sculptures using the unique sand of Port Aransas, which is perfect for sculpting due to its fine yet sturdy texture.

Artists plan their sculptures in advance and use wooden frames for support. They work tirelessly for seven hours a day over three days to bring their creations to life. The winning sculpture this year was a gothic scene called “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These” by Canadian artist Abe Waterman.

After the competition, the beach is flattened, and the sculptures are destroyed. But the memories and inspiration live on, with artists already planning for the next year’s event.

Despite being made of just sand, the sculptures at Texas SandFest demonstrate the incredible creativity and skill of the artists involved.


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