SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1, 2015 – Building sand castles for most of us is child’s play, a summer pleasure anyone can enjoy. All it takes is a beach with a little sand and some water, perhaps a bucket or shovel, or really nothing more than your bare hands and a little creativity. Wherever you grew up, just seeing a sand castle takes you back to those happy childhood days.
Sand sculpting takes this childhood joy to the highest level at the fourth annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Expo at San Diego, California’s B Street Pier this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4 – 7. Considered one of the top 10 sand-sculpting competitions in the world, 300 tons of sand will be brought to the pier for professional sand artists from Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore and, for the first time, Russia as well as from across the U.S. to create sand castles along San Diego Bay with bragging rights and cash prizes at stake.
This year’s theme focuses on next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Competitors will choose themes for their sand sculptures around the Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee is sending its “Road to Rio” interactive exhibit to the event. The exhibit allows visitors to experience Olympic sports like pole vaulting, beach volleyball, gymnastics and diving with virtual-reality technology, capturing their own personal Olympic moments to take home.
Sand-scuplting competitions began in earnest in the early 1980s in coastal regions including San Diego County. Hundreds of annual competitions now take place around the world. They have become a phenomenal tourist draw. This competition alone brings $2 million into the San Diego economy; one of five people attending the competition is an out-of-town visitor.
Techniques for building these spectacular works of art are far more sophisticated than the buckets and shovels we remember. Each sculpture in the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge weighs 10 tons. Do the math, that’s 20,000 pounds. It takes 10 days from start to finish to set up, execute and then restore the pier back for this mammoth event.
Previous winning entries include fire trucks, tropical fish, shipwrecks, a blues musician, birds and animals, even a full-sized pickup truck complete with real tires.
The competition begins long before Labor Day, starting with the delivery of the 300 tons of sand to San Diego’s downtown cruise ship pier. World Masters Competitors will get to work several days before the event is open to the public. They will still be in action working on their sculptures on Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday during the event weekend. The Cool California Carvers division competition is made up of three-person teams who will carve all day Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m.
These sculptures will be carved and on display through Labor Day weekend. If you have just one day to visit, and want to see them all fully completed as well as the names of the winners, Monday is the best day. Event hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. There will be extended night time hours on Sept. 5 only until 9 p.m., which includes a nighttime demonstration event by the Fly Boarders. These entertainers use a water propelled jet pack attached to a personal water craft that allows them to ride the flyboard through the air and perform incredible acrobatics on top of a water spout with the San Diego skyline in the background.
When visitors are ready to take a break,they can take in the Dimensional Art Expo with over 1,000 one of kind works of art on display and sale, eat from 15 of San Diego’s best gourmet food trucks and a beer/wine garden and enjoy live entertainment throughout the weekend. Kids can enjoy a fun zone and get sandcastle building lessons taught by professional master sand builders.
Bring your camera and get ready to take plenty of photos of these amazing works of art. After you go home, there will be nothing left but your memories until next year.
More information and tickets including single day and four-day passes are available at http://www.ussandsculpting.com/ Active duty military, police, fire, and EMTs with ID are free on Friday and receive discounted tickets through the weekend.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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