The biggest sand sculpture competition in the United States takes place this month in Texas

Texas SandFest is billed as “the largest indigenous sand sculpture competition in the United States”.

SandFest, held in Port Aransas, Texas on the Texas Gulf Coast, began in 1997 as a small, local sand sculpture competition held on the beach. Since then, it has grown into an international event that attracts 180 master and semi-professional sand sculptors from the United States and other countries. More than 30,000 people attend this family event each year.

“Texas SandFest is an incredible three-day festival that brings together master sand sculptors from all over the world, using tons of sand to create works of art that can measure over 10 feet and showcasing some of the most incredible detail,” Brett Stawar, president and CEO of the Port Aransas Board of Tourism and Chamber of Commerce, said The journey awaits you.

(Photo credit: Kastle Brandy / Kastle Photography)

Port A

Located 178 miles southeast of San Antonio and just under 40 miles from Corpus Christi, Port Aransas – or Port A, as it’s called – sits along 18 miles of unbroken waterfront on the Mustang Island. Located on the edge of a continental shelf, Port A is known as an ideal location for deep sea fishing. Here again, the waters surrounding Mustang Island also offer exceptional bay fishing.

Texas SandFest is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit created to raise funds for local charities and scholarships for high school students. Texas SandFest uses revenue from sales at the event as well as donations and sponsorships from local businesses and individuals to fulfill this mission.

“There is really nothing but Texas SandFest combined with live music, vendors, amateur sculpture contests and so much fun in Port Aransas,” Stawar said. The journey awaits you. “And, the best part is that the Port Aransas high school graduates and the community are the benefactors of it all. Over $ 400,000 was invested in scholarships and donated to local charities in 2019. ”

Opposites Attract the sand sculpture being created.
Opposites attract, 2019 (Photo credit: Kastle Brandy / Kastle Photography)

Fun for pros and amateurs alike

Each year, 28 master and semi-professional sculptors from 10 states and 5 countries participate in Texas SandFest. The event, using over 10,000 tonnes of sand, also typically attracts 150 amateur sand sculptors.

Over 30,000 visitors attend the event each year to walk around and marvel at the sand sculptures built on the beach. Those who are interested can even participate in the amateur competition.

You can learn more about the sand sculptors here. You can find out about amateur competition and also register to compete here.

(Photo credit: Kastle Brandy / Kastle Photography)

Fun for the family

There are several other activities at SandFest, besides admiring the work of sculptors.

For example, at Lesson Mountain, “children of all ages learn to build their own sandcastles”. Chip Cooper, who has been teaching sand sculpture for many years, and other volunteers will be on hand to share tips and tricks for sculpting works of art in sand.

Second, anyone with kids or grandchildren will want to stop by the Make-Up and Animal Balloon Station run by Rockport, TX-based children’s artist Joy Arrington. There is no charge for face painting or balloon animals.

Finally, no outdoor festival is complete without live music. The musical headliner for Friday October 15 is Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners. On Saturday, the lead actor is country singer / songwriter Matt Caldwell. Finally, Sunday’s main act will be the ’80s tribute band The Spazmatics.

You can find out more about SandFest schedules and see the full schedule of events here.

Texas SandFest requires tickets for admission. Ticket prices are $ 15 for adults 13 and over and $ 5 for children 6 to 12. There is no charge for children 5 and under.

You can find more information about tickets or buy them in advance here.

Liberty Crumbling, first place Master Solo 2019 at SandFest, Port Aransas, TX.
Freedom that crumbles, 2019 Master Solo First Place (Photo credit: Kastle Brandy / Kastle Photography)

Know before you go

Face coverings or masks are not required at Texas SandFest as it is an outdoor event that, by the way, takes place rain or shine. However, event organizers are encouraging guests who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear a mask. Participants are also encouraged to practice social distancing. You can find a complete list of COVID-19 guidelines from SandFest here.

If you want to learn more about Port A or other Texas beaches, be sure to read The Best Beach Towns In Texas To Visit.

Port Aransas is also home to the annual Whooping Crane Festival, which takes place each February when hundreds of whooping cranes arrive from Canada. You can read more about this event in Tips for Seeing South Texas’s Beautiful Whooping Cranes in February.

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